What Causes a Sweet Taste in Mouth?

If you’re like most people, you probably divulge in sweets every now and then. But having a chronic sweet taste in mouth can be a cause for concern.

This ongoing sensation can linger for quite some time, and the causes are many. These can include GERD, diabetes, and many more.

In this article, we’ll show you some of the reasons why your mouth tastes sweet, what you can do about it, and when it’s time to see a doctor.

GERD – A Common Culprit

gerd and sweet taste

A common cause to watch out for is GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), or more commonly referred to as heartburn.

Believe it or not, GERD is responsible for a wide range of symptoms, which can trick a person into thinking they have something more serious.

In the short term, GERD won’t kill you. However, in the long run, it can increase your risk of esophageal cancer.

GERD might also be the primary cause for why your mouth to tastes sweet. You should confirm this with a specialist.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for sure if it’s GERD until you ask a doctor. He or she will be able to give you more answers.

Another possibility (although less likely) is that you’re suffering from a metabolic problem, like diabetes.

Bottom Line: A possible cause for your symptom is GERD. While GERD won’t kill you, it can increase your risk of esophageal cancer.

What Causes GERD?

GERD is caused by persistent acid reflux, which is basically stomach acid that has made its way back up the esophagus.

As you swallow, your lower esophageal sphincter – a small “band” at the lower part of your esophagus – relaxes so that liquids and foods can pass through.

Once that happens, it closes. But if this band becomes abnormally weak, it can cause stomach acid to come back into the esophagus, causing heartburn.

While GERD isn’t something that can kill you overnight, it can increase your risk of esophageal cancer over the long run.

For this reason, it’s something you should take care of immediately upon noticing the symptoms. Here’s a helpful video that can help you get started:

Other Possible Causes

Neurological problems like epilepsy, seizure disorder, and stroke shouldn’t be counted out.

Some people can have a stroke and not even realize they’re having one. A viral attack on the olfactory nerve can cause your mouth to develop a sweet taste.

Also, if you develop an infection in the throat, nose, or sinuses, this can also cause you to have both a sweet smell and taste.

Keep in mind that if you’re a healthy, young individual, it’s less likely that these are the causes.

Bottom Line: If a person experiences a stroke or seizure, it could impair their normal sense of taste. Infections, especially those of the olfactory nerve, is another cause.

How Can Diabetes Cause This?

Sweet Taste in Mouth

Diabetes is a disease in which the body isn’t able to product enough insulin. As a result, your blood sugar levels dramatically increase. There are two types:

  • Type 1: Congenital (meaning you’re born with it).
  • Type 2: Acquired later in life (lifestyle plays a big role).

As blood sugar increases, it can increase the sugar composition in your saliva. Note, not everyone who has diabetes is going to have a change in taste sensation.

Keep in mind that if you do have diabetes, you’ll want to begin treatment immediately. It’s a life-long disease that requires constant treatment and dramatic lifestyle changes.

Bottom Line: A sweet taste in the mouth could be due to increased blood sugar levels. With nowhere else to go, the sugar ends up in the saliva.

Possible Neurological Disturbances

Since taste is related to your senses, this strange symptom could be caused by neurological conditions like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.

Although very rare in young people, they are definite possibilities for people over the age of 65.

Finally, a tumor or cyst in the brain can also alter your taste, but these are usually associated with other symptoms like blurred vision, memory loss, and headaches (among other things).

It’s recommended that you speak with a certified neurologist for more answers.

Bottom Line: Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disease that results in brain degradation. It’s been known to alter taste.

How Rare Are Brain Tumors? 

If you’re worried that a sweet taste in mouth is being caused by a brain tumor, here’s a little reassurance: they only affect about 12 out of every 100,000 people (Source: Patient.Info) .

So the chances that you have a brain tumor are slim. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have one, but the odds are definitely in your favor.

If a brain tumor happens in the taste portion of the brain, it can cause things to taste sweet. Additional symptoms include dizziness, headaches, and fatigue

If you’re worried, schedule an MRI to rule out a possible brain tumor and/or cyst.

Bottom Line: Brain tumors can alter taste, but they’re not the most common cause. An MRI or CT scan can be performed to rule out a brain tumor.

Occasional Sweet Taste in Mouth is Probably Benign

If you’re suffering from an intermittent sweet taste in mouth, then the cause is probably benign.

But if it’s becoming more and more persistent, or if the taste is increasing in intensity, go see a doctor (preferably an ENT or neurologist).

After performing a complete workup, they’ll be able to tell you what’s going on and what you can do about it.

Ask a Question: If you want to ask a medical doctor a question that hasn't been answered in one of our articles go to: Ask a Medical Doctor About your Symptoms

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