Can Diabetes Cause a Metallic Taste in The Mouth?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

When the body doesn’t make enough or use insulin properly, sugar accumulates in the bloodstream. This leads to high blood sugar.

Uncontrolled diabetes or high blood sugar can cause a range of problems such as nerve damage and kidney damage. But these aren’t the only side effects of diabetes. Some people with diabetes may also develop a metallic taste in their mouth.

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The reasons for taste disturbance vary, but might include medication or poor oral hygiene. Sometimes, a metallic taste in the mouth is also an early sign of diabetes.

But although Metformin can stabilize blood sugar — thus reducing the risk of serious diabetes complications — some people who take this medication complain of a metallic taste in their mouth.

The reason isn’t quite clear, but this taste disturbance is likely due to the prescription drug excreting into saliva.

The good news is that this taste problem is often temporary, with taste returning to normal after 1 or 2 weeks.

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Simply put, your central nervous system (CNS) affects how your brain perceives taste, and it’s possible that uncontrolled diabetes can affect your nervous system.

Prolonged high blood sugar slowly damages the nerves in your body. This can include the nerves in the:

Many people think of diabetes only affects blood sugar. But too much sugar in your blood can cause problems with your mouth, too.

Thrush develops when a fungus that occurs naturally starts to grow out of control. It can affect the gums, tongue, and the roof of the mouth.

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If you take the drug Metformin, a metallic taste should subside after a few weeks once your body adjusts to the medication. If taste disturbance doesn’t improve, see a medical professional.

Adjusting your dosage or finding an alternative drug might improve your taste.

If a metallic taste is due to sugar in the saliva, controlling your diabetes can also help improve your taste. Additionally, if you develop an infection due to poor dental hygiene, seeing a dentist and treating the infection might improve taste.

If taste disturbance occurs due to nerve damage, the severity of nerve damage may determine whether your taste returns to normal.

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As you wait for your condition to improve, here are a few tips to help your food taste better:

If you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes, yet you notice a metallic taste in your mouth, see a medical professional. This taste disturbance is sometimes an early sign of diabetes.

This can be an early sign of diabetes, as well as blood sugar that is not in target range.

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