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Loss Of Taste: Causes And Treatment

Loss of taste or medically termed as ageusia can be caused by various risk factors. Here are some treatment options for this condition.

Written by: Navya KharbandaPublished at: Nov 17,2021
Updated at: Dec 08,2021

Ageusia is the medical term used for a a condition in which the tongue loses complete sense of tasting various tastes, such as sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and  tangy taste. Ageusia or loss of taste can leave an impact on people of all age groups, but it is mostly seen in people above the age of 50 years old. The recent Coronavirus disease pandemic also has the complication of loss of smell and  taste in some cases of patients who get  tested positive for Covid-19. Loss of taste is not a fatal health condition, but once symptoms are noticed and detected, it is important to take medical treatment for full recovery of the patient.

In some cases, people are born with taste problems, while some develop them with time. Many factors can lead to a loss of taste, such as Covid-19, cigarette smoking and increasing age, among others. There are so many different reasons that can cause loss of taste, it can be helpful to detect the cause before trying any treatment method. As loss of taste can even develop due to a health problem, so it becomes even more important to determine the cause before jumping to any kind of treatment option. Onlymyhealth editorial talked to Dr. Ashutosh Shukla, Senior Director - Internal Medicine & Medical Advisor, Max Hospital, Gurgaon, to know about the causes and treatment of loss of taste or ageusia.

Loss of taste causes

It is absolutely normal to feel tensed of you feel like there is a loss of taste in your mouth while eating anything. It is good to savour food as it adds enrichment to your life so it can be difficult for someone if you suddenly starts experiencing loss of taste.  If you are developing a loss of sense of taste, it is important to find out the main reason behind it. As per Dr. Ashutosh, here are the causes of loss of taste or ageusia:

1. Increasing age

The taste buds start decreasing as you age and they also begin to shrink, which can be a major cause for loss of taste in elderly people. Sensitivity to the five tastes (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami) usually starts detoriating after the age of 60 years old. Patients might also experience dry mouth because your mouth produces less saliva at an old age. Dry mouth can also be a reason behind loss of taste.

2. Cigarette smoking

Smoking can make your taste buds dull or even kill them. Smoking cigarettes restricts the blood supply to your taste buds, leading to a loss of taste or ageusia. It can damage the nerve endings of your nose and mouth. Once you quit smoking, the taste function can come back in some time. You can talk to an expert about effective ways to quit smoking.

3. Covid-19 disease

One of the main symptoms of Covid-19 is loss of taste and smell. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has designated  loss of taste and smell as one of the most common signs of Coronavirus disease. If you are having a sudden loss of taste along with other Covid symptoms, talk to  your doctor as soon as possible.

Also read: COVID-19 Symptoms: How Is Loss Of Smell And Taste Different From Common Cold?

4. Mild infections

Mild infections such as common cold and flu are also known to have an impact on your sense of taste and smell. Sinusitis can also cause loss of taste in some people. These mild infections can be treated with doctor prescribed medications, thereby restoring the sense of taste.

Loss of taste treatment

Both taste and smell problems can be  diagnosed by an otolaryngologist, who is an expert of the ear, nose, throat, head, and neck. Curing the underlying health condition that causes a loss of taste can help bringing back the power of your taste buds. According to Dr. Ashutosh, here are some treatment options for ageusia or loss of taste:

1. Antibiotics and medications for underlying conditions

Antibiotics and certain other medications can help in treating underlying conditions, that might be causing a loss of taste. Problems such as bacterial sinusitis, salivary glands, and throat infections can be cured with antibiotics. Other mild infections such as cold, flu, and allergic rhinitis can affect your taste. It can be relieved with decongestants or antihistamines, as prescribed by the doctor. Once the health problem starts getting treated, your loss of taste will restore quickly. The doctor might suggest medicines to deal with the symptoms of a nervous system disorder or an autoimmune disease that can lead to loss of taste.

Also read: Is Loss of Smell A Sign of COVID-19 Recovery? Find Out Here

2. Quit smoking

In most of the patients, lifestyle changes can prove to be extremely useful in bringing back the loss of taste. If you are a smoker, quitting smoking can help in treating ageusia, thus you will be able to taste your food with full taste. If you restrict smoking, begin to regain their sense of taste as quickly as two days after they have kicked the habit.

3. Improve dental hygeine

Good dental hygiene or oral health can also help in bringing back the sense of taste. Gingivitis is a gum disease that can develop in people when plaque gets buildup on the gum line. Poor dental hygeine can be a major cause behind ageusia. By regularly brushing and flossing, you can remove plaque from your mouth. It will protect your teeth from tooth decay, and help restore complete sense of taste.

Also read: Suffering From Loss of Smell and Taste? Find Respite With These Remedies

These were the causes and treatment of loss of taste or ageusia by Dr. Ashutosh Shukla. For the diagnosis of ageusia, it is important to differentiate between a total loss of taste or the loss of a particular taste. The medical history of the patient can play a major role in diagnosing this condition. While deciding upon the treatment plan for ageusia, all other concerned diseases of the nose, nasal sinus, any recent viral infection and allergy should be taken into account.

Image credits: Freepik

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