Did You Know?
We detect tastes not only with the help of the 10,000 taste buds we are born with, but also the smell receptors present in the lining of the nose. So, it is both the nose and the mouth that help our brain cells identify and differentiate between the various tastes that exist.
Isn't it really annoying and bothersome to have that weird chalky taste in the mouth all the time? You brush your teeth, use a mouthwash and breath freshener, drink water, eat something, but that awful taste just doesn't agree to leave! What is more annoying is the fact that every time you talk, swallow your spit, or even eat or drink anything, you are immediately reminded of this awful sensation.
This unpleasant taste also tends to interfere with your food and drink, making it difficult for you to enjoy any meal and refreshment. Oftentimes, the situation worsens when the chalkiness is also observed not just in your taste, but also your breath. This adds to the annoyance furthermore. There could be various reasons behind this horrible experience, starting from a food you ate, to a medication you are taking, to an underlying health issue. The following section gives you a list of some of the common reasons that can alter the taste in your mouth to chalky and/or metallic.
What Causes Chalky Taste in Mouth?
The first thing that you need to do, is think about a recent alteration in your lifestyle. Have you started taking a new medication? Have you been feeling sick, or ended up eating something that tasted funny? If that's not the case, that's not the end of the questions either! We have a lot many questions for you regarding the causal factors that can be attributed to this unceasing chalkiness in your mouth. Have a look.
Are you on a low-carb diet?
It isn't uncommon to go on a low-carb diet to lose those extra pounds. Many tend to consume high proteins and eliminate their carb intake completely. This is done because in the absence of carbohydrates, the body switches to burning fat. This phenomenon is called ketosis. During ketosis, a chemical called 'ketones' is formed, which releases a byproduct called 'acetone'. When your body burns fat, acetone is released through your breath, thereby causing bad breath and chalky taste in the mouth.
Are you pregnant?
After having gone through various online discussion forums, it was rather surprising to see that many pregnant women, especially in their first trimester, experienced chalky taste in their mouth. The changes in the hormones that occur during pregnancy tend to affect one's tasting abilities. During pregnancy, the fluctuation in the hormone called 'estrogen' makes the mouth taste unpleasant. Also, consumption of some prenatal vitamins tends to alter the taste buds.
Are you a diabetic?
Those with diabetes, especially when it is uncontrolled, tend to have fluctuations in their blood sugar levels. During hypoglycemia, when the blood sugar level in the body drops, the body may go into ketosis, thereby causing bad breath and that funny taste. Only, in this case, the low level of blood sugar may prove to be fatal, if something is not done soon enough to bring the sugar levels back to normal.
Are you on certain medications or therapy?
The consumption of certain medications and supplements can alter your taste buds. A few examples for the same would be: certain antibiotics, medications for high blood pressure, appetite suppressants, calcium supplements, antihistamines, magnesium supplements, ACE Inhibitors, etc. Note that in some cases, certain medications may react with other supplements and cause weird taste in the mouth. Also, many times, medications that seem to be normal otherwise, tend to alter the tasting tendencies in some people. Radiation therapies, such as chemotherapy, can also interfere with your taste buds and induce an abnormal taste.
Did you eat these foods?
Research also states that some added ingredients in certain protein shakes, homemade ice-creams, and yogurts can cause a chalky taste. If you feel that a food item tastes abnormal, then it is advisable not to consume it at all. As a matter of fact, regular consumption of the aforementioned items can also form a chalky layer on the surface of the tongue, especially in the absence of a proper oral hygiene.
Are you dealing with depression and/or anxiety?
Yes, as unlikely as this sounds, anxiety can very well lead to the horrible taste you're experiencing right now. Anxiety is directly linked with Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is a consequence of constant acid reflux and heartburn. Bad breath and altered taste is a consequence of GERD. Also, during an anxiety attack, you tend to breathe rapidly which makes your mouth dry. Dryness in the mouth can also cause a bad, chalk-like taste.
Consumption of certain antidepressants and anxiety medications can also be the reason behind the development of an abnormal taste in your mouth.
Do you have metallic fillings in your teeth?
If yes, then there could be a possibility of the metal getting scrapped while brushing teeth, causing the mouth to feel all metallic and chalky. Even ill-fitting dentures can cause this problem.
Are you a long-term smoker and/or an alcoholic?
Long-term smoking can severely damage the taste buds of a person. In fact, it is very easy to say if a person is a heavy smoker or not due to the heaviness in their voice and the smell of their breath. The alteration in the sense of taste is quite inevitable in this case, as smoking deprives the mouth of oxygen, thereby encouraging anaerobic bacteria to reproduce at an increased pace. This eventually causes an unpleasant taste. In some instances, quitting smoking can also cause your mouth to feel chalky. This is nothing but the taste buds reviving from the damage caused earlier.
Speaking of alcohol, it tends to dehydrate the body severely. In fact, using mouthwash that contains alcohol can also make the mouth dry. Alcohol is linked with many other health problems too. Therefore, consuming alcoholic beverages can directly or indirectly alter your tastes.
Do you have these health problems?
We have already mentioned about acid reflux, heartburn, high blood pressure, anxiety, stress, and depression. Other than these, health problems including sinusitis, gingivitis, liver disease, respiratory tract infection, hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, anorexia, etc., can also cause your mouth to feel chalky and weird.
Have you injured your mouth, head, or nose?
As mentioned earlier, our sense of taste depends upon the taste buds in the mouth, smell receptors in the nose, and the signals received by the brain. Any sort of injury that has affected any of these three crucial areas of the body may lead to an altered sense of taste.
The aforementioned points just substantiate the fact that our sense of taste is linked with more than what we originally thought. Therefore, if this chalky taste tends to become all the more intense day by day, then the cause needs to be identified immediately.
What Can You Do
If at all, you have been able to figure out the possible reason behind this problem, then it is advised to seek the appropriate treatment from a trusted physician. The following guidelines may prove of be of a little help till the mean time.
Prioritize your oral hygiene
Like chest pain is often linked to a heart disease, the first suspicion of altered breath and taste goes to oral health. Contact your dentist to rule out the possibilities of infection in gums and teeth, inflammation in the mouth, problems with dentures, metal fittings, etc. Using non-alcoholic mouthwash, flossing twice day, gargling with hot saline water (two teaspoons of salt in a glass of water), cleaning the tongue regularly, etc., are some steps that can be taken towards maintaining a good oral hygiene.
Increase your water intake
If dehydration seems to be the possible cause, ensure that you consume at least 8 to 10 glasses of water daily. Minimize the amount of alcohol and/or cigarettes you consume on a daily basis to keep the dehydration and bacterial reproduction at bay.
Consume citrus foods and drinks
Citrus fruits tend to increase the secretion of saliva. Fruits such as lemon, lime, orange, etc., would help. However, ensure that you don't end up adding too much of sugar in your fruit juices, or in your diet in general, in case you suspect to have an oral thrush. There are various OTC gums and mouthwashes as well that prove to be helpful in increasing saliva production.
Go on a one-week bland diet
If acidity seems to be the causal factor, then perhaps it would be a good idea to go on a bland diet for a week. This will decrease the acidity in the body and reduce the intensity of the metallic taste.
Try steam inhalation
For cases where sinusitis and nasal secretions seem to be the triggers for this condition, due to the blocked nasal cavities, steam inhalation would help clear out the blockages and provide some relief.
Considering the various causative factors associated with the occurrence of this unpleasant lingering taste in the mouth, it becomes quite a necessity to get a thorough checkup done by consulting a trusted healthcare physician to determine the exact cause, and implement the accurate treatment. We would suggest to not wait for more than three days since the onset of this symptom.Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Kindly consult a trusted physician for accurate diagnosis.