5 possible causes of taste loss

October 24, 2014

If you've lost your sense of taste, there could be a simple solution to bring your taste buds back to life. Know the five possible causes of taste loss.

5 possible causes of taste loss

Why taste loss is a problem

When people lose the ability to taste, they may become disinclined to eat as much as they should because the food isn't as appealing.

  • This can be a problem especially for the elderly because people naturally lose some sense of taste as they age, and the elderly may not take in enough nutrients to sustain their health.

Here are the main causes of  taste loss:

1. Issues related to the sense of smell

While some taste loss is caused by dental problems, the majority is caused by other health issues that affect the sense of smell.

  • In these cases, a medical practitioner can help diagnose and treat the underlying causes, which may be as simple as a nasal infection or as serious as a head injury.

2. Gum disease

If you suffer from gum disease (gingivitis) or inflammation of the salivary gland, these conditions can be treated and recurrence prevented with proper dental care.

3. Dry mouth

Excessive dryness in the mouth can prevent taste molecules from being detected by the taste buds. Saliva makes it possible to chew and swallow, and it helps to prevent tooth decay and mouth infections.

  • Dry mouth can have a number of medical causes such as certain prescription medications or underlying diseases like diabetes.
  • In these instances, your dental professional might be able to help you develop a plan to help keep your mouth hydrated.

4. Oral devices

Ill-fitting oral devices, such as dentures or braces, can lead to inflammation and infection, resulting in taste loss.

  • Sometimes the metal in the device can cause an odd taste in the mouth when it comes in contact with saliva.
  • A dental professional can adjust or change the appliance to ensure a proper fit or prevent the odd taste.
  • This will increase comfort and prevent future dental problems, as well as restore the sense of taste.


5. Dental anaesthesia

The nerve fibres for taste run along the same nerve as that for tongue sensation. When receiving anaesthesia for lower-jaw work, this nerve may be contacted by the needle, resulting in taste loss.

  • This effect normally wears off after several weeks.

Certain dental problems, including gum disease, inflammation caused by oral appliances and infections in the mouth, may cause an alteration or loss of taste. If a health practitioner rules out medical reasons for a loss of taste and suggests the cause is dental, a dental professional can help.

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