It’s common for taste buds to change as you age, but sometimes ongoing changes in taste can be signs of health conditions. One of these occurrences is a persistent salty taste. If your mouth tastes salty when you haven’t eaten salty foods or food with other flavor profiles just tastes salty to you, it’s worth considering whether there’s an underlying cause. Below are some of the conditions that cause this salty taste and how you can combat it.
Causes of Persistent Salty Taste in Mouth
There are a lot of causes of the sensation of a salty taste. Putting aside the actual presence of salt, causes can include:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Oral bleeding
- Acid reflux
- Oral infection
- Post-nasal drip
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Hormonal changes
- Side effects of medication
- Chemotherapy side effects
You can see that the causes range from minor and very easily treatable (i.e. drinking water to fight dehydration) to complicated and in need of medical guidance. If you’re worried about a persistent salty taste, it’s always advisable to talk to your doctor and start looking for underlying causes.
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A good first step is to analyze your behaviors and health and assess whether any known conditions could be causing the persistent salty taste. Are you drinking enough water? Do you often have heartburn and other signs of acid reflux? Habits like drinking and smoking can negatively impact your oral health and cause infections and post-nasal drip, both of which could be causing the salty sensation in your mouth.
If you’re looking to get rid of the salty taste in your mouth, there are both short-term and long-term solutions. Short-term options include:
- Making sure you’re hydrated
- Examining your your diet for nutritional deficiencies
- Improving oral hygiene with rinses and increased brushing and flossing
- Examining side effects of medication
- Monitoring your hormones
Examine your mouth and see if there are any abnormalities in your tongue and throat. Discoloration, bumps, and other changes can be a great indicator of oral and overall health.
Long-term solutions involve talking to your doctor and treating underlying causes. Even if dehydration or nutrition are causing you to have a salty sensation, there could be an underlying health condition that prevents you from absorbing nutrients or retaining water. If allergies or medication are the cause, there may be alternatives to the medication you’re currently taking.
You probably are at least mildly familiar with every item on the causes list except Sjogren syndrome. This is where your immune system attacks the glands responsible for making moisture in your body. It is commonly accompanied by other autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Oral rinses and increased water consumption can help, but some people may need medication or surgery to control the symptoms.
Post-nasal drip can be caused by sinus infections and allergies. When mucus builds up in the back of your throat and mixes with your saliva, it can cause a salty taste. Managing your allergies with antihistamines, rinses, and humidifiers can help reduce symptoms.
Even as you’re working on making changes to address symptoms, you should be consulting your doctor and seeing if any tests need to be run. Changing habits and surroundings is a positive choice, but don’t mistake relief from symptoms as a cure. You could just be covering up deeper health issues. It’s always best to talk with a medical professional about the health choices you’re making.