The tongue is the sensory organ for taste. About 10,000 taste buds are present on the tongue. Some are also present in the back of the throat or the roof of the mouth. The sensory receptors that are present around the taste buds allow us to identify and distinguish between sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and savory/meaty taste.
Smell of food is identified by the smell receptors present in the lining of the nose. These receptors and receptors in the taste buds work in tandem to help us identify different flavors. At times, they might not be able to function properly due to poor nutrition, health problems, use of drugs, etc. As a result, one might develop an abnormal taste in mouth.
The abnormal change in the taste is medically referred to as dysgeusia. Metallogeusia, which is one of the specific types of dysgeusia, could be caused due to wide range of reasons.
If along with a bitter taste in mouth after eating, you also have symptoms like white coating on the tongue or pain and burning sensation while eating and swallowing, then you might be affected by oral thrush, which is a fungal infection caused by Candida albicans.
This fungal infection leads to white spots on tongue, which alter the functioning of the taste buds. Under such circumstances, the affected individual might experience a foul, rancid, or metallic taste after eating.
At times, metallogeusia could be attributed to respiratory infections such as common cold, flu, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, or the development of nasal polyps. Congestion in the nasal passages can adversely affect one's sense of smell, which in turn might hamper one's sense of taste.
Bad taste in the mouth could also be attributed to dental problems such as gingivitis or periodontal disease. If the gums bleed, or become sore and infected, it could lead to bad breath, as well as an abnormal taste in the mouth. Metallic taste could also be attributed to the problem of dry mouth.
One common food item that is notorious for causing a metallic taste in the mouth is pine nuts. The reason behind the development of such an abnormal taste is not known. The changes are usually noted about a day or so after the consumption of pine nuts. This condition is self-limiting. If the taste is bothering you so much, you could avoid eating pine nuts.
Use of Drugs
Sometimes, a person may develop a bitter taste in mouth due to the use of a medication. The use of antibiotics such as metronidazole, antifungal drugs, corticosteroids, diuretics, lithium, ACE inhibitors, antihistamines, nicotine patches, etc., could be a contributing factor.
Also, people who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy to the head and neck might also develop an abnormal taste.
Some women also complain of a metallic taste in mouth during pregnancy. This occurs due to the hormonal changes taking place in the woman's body at this time.
Besides the aforementioned factors, people affected by diabetes, anemia, thyroid problems, or medical conditions associated with the liver or the kidneys could also experience dysgeusia.
Therefore, the treatment would vary, depending on the underlying cause. Once the underlying cause is treated, the issue of dysgeusia would also resolve. If this condition is accompanied by pain or bad breath, then it is best to visit a dentist.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this write-up is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.