Taste disorder simply refers to impaired taste. It means that your sense of taste is not functioning properly that may lead to an altered sense such as a metallic taste in the mouth.
Most people experience taste disorders temporarily and lose only a part of their ability to taste. It’s very rare to lose your sense of taste completely.
The senses of taste and smell are closely linked. In some cases, your taste buds may be functioning just fine, but your sense of smell is the problem. Your doctor might send you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist to determine if you have a smell disorder.
Causes of Taste Disorders
The causes of impaired taste may start from a common cold to a more serious medical condition involving the central nervous system. Impaired taste can also be a sign of normal aging. It is estimated that about 75 percent of people 80 years of age and above are experiencing impaired taste.
Here are some common conditions that can affect the sense of taste:
- Common Cold
- Respiratory illness
- Zinc and Vitamin B-12 deficiency
- Sinus, throat, or salivary gland infections
- Gingivitis or periodontal disease
- Multiple sclerosis and Bell’s palsy may sometimes cause impaired taste
Treating the root causes of the taste disorder can help regain the full sense of taste. Sinus, throat, or salivary gland infections can be treated with antibiotics. Colds, flu, and allergic rhinitis may be relieved with decongestants or antihistamines. Once you are feeling better, your sense of taste will most likely return quickly.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to address your impaired taste but it must start from within you. Lifestyle changes are all you need to improve your sense of taste. If you are a smoker, then quitting smoking will restore the best condition of your sense of taste. Proper dental hygiene such as proper brushing and flossing can also reverse an impaired sense of taste.