Some people experience a metallic taste in their mouth from time to time. It's not uncommon, and there's usually an obvious reason for it.

Sometimes, a problem with your sense of taste can actually be a smell problem, or linked with this. Learn about smelling odours that aren't there and loss of sense of smell.

Otherwise, read on to discover the most common reasons for a metallic taste in the mouth.

Gum disease

Gum disease is a very common condition where the gums become swollen, sore or infected. The gums tend to bleed after you brush or floss your teeth, and the blood in your mouth causes the metallic taste.

If left untreated, the tissues and bone that support the teeth can also become affected (known as periodontitis). This, too, can cause an unpleasant taste in your mouth and result in bad breath, loose teeth, and gum abscesses (collections of pus that develop under your gums or teeth).

Read how you can treat gum disease.


Some pregnant women experience a metallic taste in their mouth during the early stages of pregnancy, because of the hormone changes.

It's also fairly common to crave certain foods, or go off certain foods, and have a heightened sense of smell.

Learn more about the signs and symptoms of pregnancy.

Problem with the airways

A cold, sinus infection, runny nose from allergies (allergic rhinitis) or nasal polyps can all cause a metallic taste in the mouth.

The links will take you to more information on these conditions.

Treatment side effects

A wide range of medication can cause a metallic taste in the mouth as a side effect. Examples are:

If you suspect that a medication you're taking may be causing the metallic taste, you can check the patient information leaflet.

Cancer treatment

Taste changes are a common side effect of chemotherapy and radiation therapy to the neck and head, because of damage to the taste buds and salivary glands.

Read a factsheet from Macmillan about taste changes and cancer and how you can make food more enjoyable.

Page last reviewed: 15/01/2015

Next review due: 15/01/2017