Metallic Taste in the Mouth

Metallic Taste in the Mouth Early Symptoms & Signs

Medical Author:

Symptoms & Signs

A metallic taste in the mouth is a relatively common side effect of medications. Dozens of different medications produce an altered sense of taste that can include the perception of a metallic taste. Examples include many antibiotics and some antihistamines. In the majority of these cases, the condition is only temporary and resolves once the medication is discontinued. Cancer chemotherapy medications may also produce a metallic taste in the mouth as a side effect.

Metallic taste in the mouth can also arise due to a disorder of the nerves that control taste sensations. The condition of altered sense of taste is medically known as dysgeusia. Dysgeusia can cause a number of different alterations in taste, including a metallic taste. Some common medical conditions that can cause metallic taste in the mouth include ear or upper respiratory infections and head injury. A history of radiation therapy to the head and neck can also cause a metallic taste in the mouth. Pregnant women sometimes experience an alteration in the sense of taste, particularly in the early stages of pregnancy.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/8/2015

Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.


Longo, Dan, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 18th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2011.

Main Article on Metallic Taste in the Mouth
  • Taste Disorders The most common taste disorder is phantom taste perception; that is, a lingering, often unpleasant taste even though you have...learn more »
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Causes of Metallic Taste in the Mouth
    • Chewing Tobacco (Smokeless Tobacco, Snuff) Chewing tobacco (snuff or smokeless tobacco) has more nicotine absorbed into the system than by smoking a cigarette. Chewing...learn more »
      In This Article
      Chewing Tobacco (Smokeless Tobacco, Snuff) Article
      • Chewing tobacco facts
      • What is chewing tobacco?
      • What are the health risks of chewing tobacco?
      • Cancer risk and chewing tobacco
      • Other health risks of chewing tobacco
      • Is chewing tobacco safer than cigarette smoking?
      • What is being done to reduce the use of chewing tobacco?
      • What treatments are available to help people quit using chewing tobacco?
    • Ear Infection (Otitis Media) Middle ear infection or inflammation (otitis media) is inflammation fo the middle ear. There are two types of otitis media, acute...learn more »
      In This Article
      Ear Infection (Otitis Media) Article
      • Ear infection or inflammation (otitis media) facts
      • What is otitis media (middle ear infection or inflammation)?
      • What are the symptoms of acute middle ear infection?
      • How common is acute middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • "Are ear infections contagious?
      • Why do young children tend to have ear infections?
      • How does the Eustachian tube change as a child gets older?
      • What microorganisms cause middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • What is the relationship between bottlefeeding and middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • What are the risk factors for acute middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • How is acute otitis media diagnosed?
      • How is acute middle ear infection or inflammation treated?
      • Are there any home remedies for acute ear infection (otitis media)?
      • What causes chronic middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • What happens to the eardrum in chronic middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • What happens to the eardrum if a hole develops in the eardrum?
      • How is chronic middle ear infection or inflammation treated?
      • What are the goals of chronic otitis media surgery?
      • What is serious middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • What limitations are there on a child with middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • Can otitis media (middle ear infection or inflammation) be prevented?
    • Gum Disease Gum disease is caused by plaque and may result in tooth loss without proper treatment. Symptoms and signs of gum disease...learn more »
      In This Article
      Gum Disease Article
      • What is gum disease (gingivitis)?
      • What is the difference between gingivitis and periodontal disease?
      • What causes gum disease?
      • Does gum disease cause bad breath?
      • What are other gum disease symptoms and signs?
      • How is gum disease diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for gum disease?
      • Are home remedies or natural treatments effective for gum disease?
      • Can gum disease be reversed?
      • Is gum disease associated with other health problems?
      • How is gum disease managed in children?
      • How is gum disease managed in pregnancy?
      • Can gum disease be prevented?
      • Is gum disease contagious?
    • Head Injury (Brain Injury) In the United States, head injuries are one of the most common causes of death and disability. Head injuries due to bleeding are...learn more »
      In This Article
      Head Injury (Brain Injury) Article
      • Head injury facts
      • Head injury introduction
      • What are the causes of head injury?
      • What are the symptoms of a head injury?
      • What is the Glasgow Coma Scale?
      • When should I contact a doctor about a head injury?
      • How is a head injury diagnosed?
      • How is a head injury treated?
      • What is the prognosis for a head injury?
      • How can a head injury be prevented?
      • What about a head injury in infants and young children?
    • Pregnancy (Week By Week, Trimesters) There are many symptoms involved in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy. The first early pregnancy symptom is typically...learn more »
      In This Article
      Pregnancy (Week By Week, Trimesters) Article
      • Pregnancy facts*
      • Introduction
      • What is the first trimester (week 1-week 12)?
      • What is the second trimester (week 13-week 28)?
      • What is the third trimester (week 29-week 40)?
      • How will my baby develop week by week?
      • What are the changes that happen to a woman's body during the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimester of her pregnancy?
      • Body aches
      • Breast changes
      • Constipation
      • Dizziness
      • Fatigue, sleep problems
      • Heartburn and indigestion
      • Hemorrhoids during pregnancy
      • Itching
      • Leg cramps
      • Morning sickness
      • Nasal problems
      • Numb or tingling hands
      • Stretch marks, skin changes
      • Swelling
      • Urinary frequency and leaking
      • Varicose veins
    • Smoking (How to Quit Smoking) Smoking is an addiction. More than 430,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. from smoking related illnesses. Secondhand smoke or...learn more »
      In This Article
      Smoking (How to Quit Smoking) Article
      • Smoking and quitting smoking facts
      • What problems are caused by smoking?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of cigarette addiction?
      • What are the steps in quitting?
      • Getting ready to quit smoking
      • On the day you quit smoking
      • Staying quit
      • What methods can help a person quit smoking?
      • Nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking
      • Nicotine patches
      • Nicorette gum
      • Nicotine lozenges
      • What prescription products are available for smoking cessation?
      • How can nicotine-containing products be used safely?
      • What are e-cigarettes?
      • Is an e-cigarette harmful?
      • Is secondhand smoke from e-cigarettes harmful?
      • What is in the future for smoking?
    • Upper Respiratory Tract Infection An upper respiratory infection is a contagious infection of the structures of the upper respiratory tract, which includes the...learn more »
Other Causes of Metallic Taste in the Mouth
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Cancer Chemotherapy
  • Ear, Nose, or Throat Surgeries
  • Medications
  • Normal Aging
  • Pollutants or Toxins
  • Poor Oral Hygiene
  • Previous Radiation Therapy to the Head And Neck
  • Viral Infections
  • Vitamin Deficiencies

Symptoms & Signs A-Z List