Sweet taste in mouth: 10 Causes, 7 Remedies, When to see a Doctor

Sweet taste in mouth can be experienced by us when eat something sweet, like chocolates, desserts or sweets, drink some soft drinks, etc. We feel good during this time as we were craving for something sweet.

But, there are times when we have a sweet taste in mouth without eating anything sweet, and also accompanied by some other symptoms. We feel uncomfortable during this time, and we start pondering about the causes of having a sweet taste in mouth and the ways to get rid of it. So, let us explore about them in detail in this article.

Sweet taste in mouth Causes:

sweet taste in mouth
Sweet taste in mouth
Image source: drandreapurcell.com

There are many causes of having a sweet taste in mouth ranging from simple conditions like GERD to serious disorders like Diabetic ketoacidosis. So, let us explore the causes of experiencing a sweet taste in mouth.

GERD:

GERD is the abbreviation for Gastro-esophageal reflux disease. In this disease the sphincter or muscular structure present between the oesophagus or food pipe and the stomach is weak.

This results in backflow of the food contents from the stomach into the mouth. A person with GERD can have a sour taste or sweet taste in mouth or even metallic taste in mouth.

Neurological problems:

Sensing taste in the mouth is the function of the nerves or nervous system. So, when there is any impairment or damage to the nervous system, we experience altered taste as well, along with various other neurological symptoms.

Sweet taste in mouth can be experienced when we have some neurological issues like Seizures or epilepsy, stroke, etc. This sweet taste in mouth can remain for long duration or resolve based on the severity of the underlying condition.

Dieting:

You are probably aware of Ketogenic diet by now, which has become very popular in recent times. In this diet, the amount of carbohydrates to be consumed by a person per day are kept minimal, and the main diet consists of fats, and proteins to some extent.

This shifts the metabolism of our body from Carbohydrates to fats, just like in Diabetic Ketoacidosis. So, we have a sweet taste in mouth similar to DKA or Diabetic Ketoacidosis. There are claims that this diet damages the kidneys, and causes other harms due to the excess ketones in the blood.

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There are others who believe in this diet. So, never indulge in any dieting plans without consulting your physician or dietician and weighing the pros and cons of the dieting programme.

Infections:

When we have an infection or bacterial infection of the upper airways or the upper respiratory system, we tend to have a sweet taste in mouth. The upper airways include the nose, ears, throat or pharynx, voice box or larynx, sinuses around the nose, mouth.

Do you know why we have a sweet taste in mouth when having URTI or upper respiratory tract infection? Well, the reason is simple. The glucose in the saliva is increased when we develop a URTI. Due to this, we sense sweetness in our mouth. It resolves once the URTI subsides.

Diabetes:

Diabetes is a condition in which there is an impaired absorption of sugar or glucose into the body cells. We have a hormone called Insulin in our body, which is produced by an organ called Pancreas. Insulin helps in sending Blood glucose or sugar into the cells.

Diabetes mellitus can occur due to reduced levels of insulin in the body, for example in Type 1 Diabetes, which is commonly seen in children.

It can also occur due to the inability of body cells to respond to the insulin, which is called insulin Insensitivity, and it is seen in Type 2 Diabetes. This type of Diabetes is common in adults.

Diabetes due to any cause or any Diabetes increases the blood glucose levels, there causing a sweet taste in mouth. It also causes other symptoms along with sweet taste in mouth, for example:

  • Weakness
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Malaise or Uneasiness
  • Polyuria or Increased urination
  • Polydipsia or Increased Thirst
  • Polyphagia or Increased Hunger
  • Dryness in mouth
  • Dehydration due to excess urination
Diabetic ketoacidosis:

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a complication of Diabetes, Particularly Type 1 Diabetes seen in children. It is a life-threatening condition if not treated promptly on time. This condition can also occur sometimes in patients with Type 2 Diabetes.

This condition develops when a Diabetic patient has any stress either physical or psychological, has any infections, or when he stops taking drugs which control blood sugar levels. We generally metabolise carbohydrates in our body for energy.

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But, in this condition, fats are metabolised for energy instead of carbohydrates. This releases the ketone body which are products of fat metabolism. As ketones are increased in the blood, we have a sweet taste in mouth, along with fruity breath or odour.

It is a dangerous condition which can present with the below symptoms apart from sweet taste in mouth like:

  • Altered mental status
  • Severe Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness due to low blood pressure
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination

So, whenever you see a child with Type 1 Diabetes having confusion or if he is drowsy, you need to rush him to the hospital to get appropriate treatment.

Medications or Drugs:

There are several drugs or medications which can cause a sweet taste in mouth as a side effect. This includes medicines used for the treatment of certain cancers. If you think that your medication might be the reason for this problem, then you need to talk to your doctor about this.

Pulmonary Carcinoma:

One type of lung cancer called Small cell lung cancer can cause a sweet taste in mouth. This is one of the first symptoms, and the affected person develops many other symptoms later on.

Thyroid problems:

Thyroid problems can cause many different symptoms along with having a sweet taste in mouth. Some of them are:

  • Changes in weight
  • Increased sensitivity to heat or cold
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Changes in bowel movements, etc
Pregnancy:

During Pregnancy there are many changes including changes in the hormonal levels, etc. in the pregnant woman’s body. Also, a pregnant woman can develop Diabetes mellitus during pregnancy called Gestational Diabetes Mellitus.

She can also suffer from GERD due to the increased pressure in the abdomen due to the increased size of the uterus carrying the baby. These reasons can make a pregnant woman have a sweet taste in mouth.

Sweet taste in mouth Remedies or Treatments:

Several remedies can easily be tried from the comfort of your home or with the advice of your physician to get rid of the sweet taste in mouth. They are:

Oral Hypoglycemic agents or OHA:

If you have Diabetes or DKA causing a sweet taste in mouth, you will have to take Diabetes medications, which are called OHA or Oral Hypoglycemic drugs to reduce this sweet feeling in mouth by controlling blood sugar levels. You will need the prescription of your physician for these medications.

Proper Nutrition:

As crash diets like Ketogenic diets cause a sweet taste in mouth by increasing ketones in the blood, try to avoid practising these diets. Or at least consult your dietician for advice before starting them.

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Antibiotics:

If your sweet taste in mouth is being caused by any bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract, then you will need antibiotics to kill the bacteria to resolve this symptom.

Oral Hygiene:

Improper oral hygiene can also lead infections in the mouth and gums causing a sweet taste in mouth. So, maintain proper hygiene in the mouth. Avoid eating tobacco products. Brush twice daily, and floss at night. Avoid eating excessive sweets as they decay teeth causing an altered taste in mouth.

Antacids:

As GERD is one of the causes of this sweet sensation in the mouth, taking antacid syrups or tablets containing Aluminium or Magnesium hydroxide alleviates it. They are readily available over the counter.

Exercise:

Exercise keeps you fit and reduces the obesity. Obesity is one of the causes of GERD which in turn causes a sweet taste in mouth. So, regular exercise is beneficial for you if you have this problem.

Lifestyle modifications:

Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, as they aggravate GERD. Avoiding these things can help in reducing GERD symptoms and ultimately sweet taste in mouth.

When to see a doctor for Sweet taste in mouth:

If you have a sweet taste in mouth very rarely, you need not worry about it. But, if you are having this problem continuously or on an ongoing basis, consult your family physician first.

He will take a proper history of all the symptoms that you are experiencing apart from sweet taste in mouth to come to a diagnosis or to know the cause of the problem. He might perform a physical exam based on the symptoms.

He will also order some blood tests to rule out infections, Diabetes, etc. If necessary, he might refer you to Neurologist or ENT doctor or some other Specialist. If the problem is simple, your Family physician will treat you.

I hope you have understood all the causes and remedies for having a sweet taste in mouth. I hope you find this article informative.

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