What You Can Do If Your Taste Buds Can’t Taste?

Imagine you sit down to eat your favorite dinner. You can remember how this meal used to make your mouth water… how you couldn’t wait to take the first bite. But now, you’re dreading the first bite because you know it’s not going to taste like you remember. It’s not going to taste like it’s supposed to.

Millions of people live with “taste dysfunction”. Some people with taste disorders lose their sense of taste entirely, but this is rare. For most people, a taste disorder distorts tastes or it affects some types of tastes, like sweet or salty, but not others. A taste disorder is not a life threatening condition, but it’s disruptive and reduces your quality of life.

Unfortunately, the medical community often overlooks taste disorders. There are many reasons why a taste disorder might occur and there are different things you can do to get your sense of taste back. Being an informed patient can help you bring your situation to your doctor’s attention so that you can get the help you need.

The Common Causes of Taste Disorders

There are a number of reasons why your sense of taste might not be working the way it should.

Prescription medications are a leading cause. Many medications can alter your taste perceptions. The most common drug that triggers a taste disorder is captopril (commonly prescribed under the name Capoten). This is a drug prescribed to treat high blood pressure or congestive heart failure.

Other drugs that cause taste disorders include antibiotics, antidepressants, decongestants, anti-inflammatory agents, lipid-lowering drugs, muscle relaxants, and drugs for high blood pressure among others. Exposure to toxic chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, or paint solvents can also trigger a taste disorder.

Oral infections can often lead to taste disorders. An oral yeast infection, gingivitis, an oral herpes outbreak, or periodontitis can all cause disruptions in your sense of taste. In some cases, oral appliances like dentures can also interfere with your sense of taste.

Another common cause of taste disorders is smell disorders. Often your sense of smell will play an integral role in how well you are able to distinguish different tastes. If you have a sinus infection, nasal polyps, an upper respiratory infection, or another type of sinus problem, that can disrupt your sense of taste.

Finally, a taste disorder can signal that you have a more serious condition such as a tumor, an endocrine disorder, or a nutritional deficiency. These causes are less common, but still something to consider.

Steps You Should Take To Kick Your Taste Buds Up A Notch!

If you notice that your sense of taste seems off—if foods taste funny or if the intensity of flavors is lower than you’re used to—it’s important that you don’t ignore it. According to studies, taste disorders can dramatically affect your eating habits. Many people with taste disorders don’t eat properly and their health suffers for it.

If you’re taking any prescription medications, schedule an appointment with your doctor. It may be that the medication is causing your taste dysfunction, and your doctor may be able to provide you with an alternative.

If you are not taking any medications, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your doctor anyway. Because a taste disorder can signal a more serious condition, it’s important that your doctor rule those possibilities out. Also, many taste disorders are actually a smell disorder stemming from nasal polyps. This is another condition where you will benefit from your doctor’s help.

In many cases, taste disorders are caused by an oral infection or because of an oral appliance like dentures. If you suspect that’s the case, make an appointment with your dentist to discuss the best ways to remedy the situation.

Most of the time, a taste disorder is a temporary condition. Working with your doctor or dentist can help the disorienting condition pass more quickly. In the meantime, it’s important that you take extra care in what you eat and how you season your food. Try to avoid overusing salt and sugar to make food palatable. Search for healthy foods that still taste good to you and build your meals around them.


About Dr. Mark Rosenberg

Dr. Mark A. Rosenberg, MD Dr. Mark Rosenberg received his doctorate from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1988 and has been involved with drug research since 1991. With numerous certifications in several different fields of medicine, psychology, healthy aging and fitness, Dr. Rosenberg has a wide breadth of experience in both the public and private sector with particular expertise in both the mechanism of cancer treatment failure and in treating obesity. He currently is researching new compounds to treat cancer and obesity, including receiving approval status for an investigational new drug that works with chemotherapy and a patent pending for an oral appetite suppressant. He is currently President of the Institute for Healthy Aging, Program Director of the Integrative Cancer Fellowship, and Chief Medical Officer of Rose Pharmaceuticals. His work has been published in various trade and academic journals. In addition to his many medical certifications, he also personally committed to physical fitness and is a certified physical fitness trainer.
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  • Sarah

    You should have a lemon or a chillie to shake your taste buds!!!!!!!!

  • Ddkld

    Yes i have dun dat!!!!!!!!it works

  • Francesca

    This was very helpful, thank you.

  • llmeleisea@hotmail.com

    what do you do?just eat them or make a juice.

  • Kathy

    I cannot taste or smell anything for at least the last 3 months maybe longer.
    I am now getting terrible headaches and neck pain. I have been given nasel drops and spray from my GP but this has made no improvement what so ever. I’m feeling very depressed about this whole situation now.

  • Adam

    Both can work

  • Zee

    Ever since my cortisone shot I can’t taste anything. First my mouth tasted like I had metal in it and not I have no taste whatsoever. What is going on?

  • J.J.

    I also have the same problem like Kathy. Cannot smell or taste for 6 months. When I go to sleep at night I get stuffing nose. Any body out there got good remedy?

  • mandi4601

    I’ve had a tingling tongue for 3 months now, can’t taste, and also stuffy. Dr gave me nose spray that helped with stuffy but still no taste in tip of tongue and tingling. Been to 3 Dr’s and they don’t know what it is. Any ideas?

  • Seventh Angel

    I’ve also lost my taste. I smell just fine tho.. I had thrush and the Dr prescribed nyastatin syrup to clear it up…after 5 bottles of it… I still had thrush. It got to the point where I was gargling apple cider vinegar…the only thing that did was give me a huge canker sore. I couldn’t talk very well. The Dr then prescribed me diflucan and guess what?!? That didn’t work but swishing and dabbing peroxide on the canker sores help them go away in 2 days….I had this pain everytime I ate from the bottom of my mouth to half way down my throat and I felt a lump. it was a salivary (sp?) so my Dr told me to suck on lemon drops. thar did the trick and the lump is no longer there! Still can’t taste but Tues. I’m seeing a ear, nose and throat Dr. Maybe he can figure it out. I feel each of yours pain…it sux….Wish me luck guys!

  • Renée-Christine Codsi

    I havé Been usine the Nicolette mist spray for a few months and I stated noticing that my taste is lowering, not as acute as before! Can it be because of the Nicolette spray?

  • Stephanie

    I feel the same way. I can smell just fine but can’t taste anything. It’s such a horrible feeling. I have headaches constantly now.no really want something sweet and it’s just not happening. I have been taking allergy shots three times a week, one on each arm for about a month now. I don’t know if it’s related or not but I feel absolutely horrible.

  • Sweetpea King

    I have a metallic taste and I can not taste any thing not spice food or sour or salt foods what can I do to get it back

  • Sweetpea King

    Did you ever get your taste back

  • April Rockefeller

    Wow , I am having the same problem I have a sinus infection already been on antibiotics but it seems like its never going away I can’t taste or smell anything for the last 3 weeks now feeling frustrated going to try a lemon or lime at least that’s what somebody said to do

  • Rose

    My dad just found out he has liver cancer, but for about 4 months he had no taste for foods and lost a lot of weight, but now we know why. My dad can only eat things that hot. He gas been eating chicken noodle soup and chicken gumbo soup, however he is gon b a start treatments, but he needs to eat, meats and other foods make him nausea. Any ideas of what I can do food wise. Thanks!!!!