Losing sense of taste has a negative effect on health as well as the overall quality of life. Almost 15% adults have a problem with taste or smell but do not approach a doctor for it. Over 200,000 people take medical help every year for inability to taste or smell.
However, you may wonder why that will happen to you, how can you get back to normal, and what things can you do to deal with the loss of taste. The article below can give you detail information about loss of taste.
What Causes Loss of Taste?
Loss of taste can be temporary or permanent depending on the cause. It is gradual but not as noticeable as loss in sense of smell. There are many reasons of lost taste. Medications and illness make loss of taste worse. If the transfer of taste sensations to the brain is interrupted, or if the interpretation of sensation of taste by the brain is hampered, loss of taste occurs.
Some of the common causes of loss of taste may include:
Medications like antibiotics or antihistamines cause a bad taste in mouth or loss of taste. Bitter or salty taste in the mouth for extended periods is called dysgeusia and usually affects older people. This happens due to medications and oral health problems.
Radiation of Head and Neck Cancers
Individuals who receive radiation around the nose and mouth region suffer from loss in sense of taste and smell due to side effects. Old people who lose larynx or voice box also suffer from inability to smell or taste anything.
When people are exposed to some insecticides or solvents, they can experience loss of taste. Getting medical help in such conditions is essential.
Tobacco is the most common form of chemical exposure pollution. It is also reported that when smokers quit smoking, they tend to have a better sense of taste.
Certain Operations and Injury
Ear, throat and tooth surgeries can cause loss of taste. Especially wisdom tooth extraction or middle ear surgery can lead to loss of taste. Sometime, head injuries can cause loss of taste. Damage to the taste nerves by being cut or blocked or as a result of physical damage, during a head injury can lead to loss of taste.
Ear infection and infection of the tongue can also bring about loss of taste. Respiratory or middle ear infections like flu can cause loss of taste or taste disorders. Infections caused by fungus, like oral thrush, yeast-candidiasis and glossitis can cause loss of taste.
Aging or Inability to Smell
There is slow degeneration of the nerves which control the sensation of taste and smell with increasing age. This causes reduced sense of taste in older people. Congenital anosmia is a condition where people are born with an inability to smell and this causes loss of taste in the future.
Can Loss of Taste Be Treated?
Doctor’s advice should be taken for all the possible treatment options available and the ones which are most suited to the condition depending on the cause. It is also necessary to take advice before starting or discontinuing any treatment option.
The diagnosis for loss of taste has to be done by an otolaryngologist after determining the cause. When the underlying cause is treated or gets resolved, the sense of taste returns to normalcy. If you have allergies, the sense of taste will become normal after the respiratory ailments get resolved. If the problem is due to intake of certain medication, stopping or changing the medicine also resolves the problem. However, medicines should be discontinued only after confirmation from doctor. Oral hygiene is very important for having a good sense of taste.
If the sense of taste cannot be restored, you may require a medical visit. Changes can be made in the diet to make it more appetizing and taste better.
When to See a Doctor
Doctor should be consulted when there has been loss of taste for a prolonged period of time or other symptoms going along with loss of taste. The doctor will change or adjust medication until the side effects are gone if it is the cause of the underlying problem. Therefore, it is important to let the doctor know of any medication you are taking.