What a Salty Taste May Be Telling You

  • Dec 20 2018

Can having an ongoing salty taste in my mouth mean that I have some sort of periodontal disease?

Despite the fact that all of our senses are extremely important to our quality of life, we are often guilty of taking them for granted. That changes quickly if we end up with an illness or injury that interferes with our ability to see or hear, and it is also true when something happens to lessen our senses of touch, smell or taste. Taste may be the one we are most casual about, but it actually not only brings us a great deal of pleasure, it also serves as a type of warning system that the body employs to let us know that something may not be quite right.

There is always ongoing research to identify additional taste sensors, but, currently, there are five basic tastes that are recognized. These are sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami, which means “savory” in Japanese. Each of these tastes can be enjoyed as part of a dining experience, but, when a taste is detected at other times and tends to be persistent despite brushing and flossing, this can indicate a problem. An ongoing bitter taste is often experienced during pregnancy or may accompany GERD, which is acid reflux. If it’s a salty taste that lingers in the mouth for any length of time, it could be as simple and temporary as a side effect of a medication or as significant as a sign of periodontal disease.

Gingivitis and periodontitis, the two main types of periodontal disease, are serious dental issues and, if suspected, should be immediately addressed with the help of your dental professional. Gingivitis, the milder form of infection, involves tender, swollen gums that can sometimes bleed and is treated fairly easily. Not treating gingivitis can lead to serious inflammation and infection that can result in damage to tissue and bone and, ultimately, tooth loss. This is periodontal disease and may require extensive treatment.

Other Causes of Ongoing Salty Taste in the Mouth

While dental issues should be considered whenever there is a lingering salty taste, there are quite a few other possible culprits. Some of the most common include:

  • Becoming dehydrated
  • Low levels or missing nutrients
  • Acid reflux – usually a bitter taste is believed to be a sign of acid reflux, which is the result of a weak esophageal sphincter allowing bile or stomach acid into the food pipe, but, for some people, it can also be a salty one
  • Post-nasal drip – colds, allergies and sinus infections create mucus dripping down the throat from the nose and results in a salty taste
  • Sjogren’s syndrome – in this condition, the immune system attacks the body’s moisture-producing glands, like the tear ducts and salivary glands, and the resulting dryness can have a salty taste
  • Hormonal changes – especially during pregnancy and menopause
  • Medication side effects – there are some 400 different drugs and medications, including chemotherapy drugs, that have been known to cause taste buds to react

If you are experiencing an ongoing salty taste or have questions about any of our services, whether dentistry or aesthetics, Forest Hills Dentistry is dedicated to delivering the highest quality services possible. We offer the latest and most current information and services to our patients with a new state-of-the-art facility in Forest Hills, Queens. Patient comfort, individualized care and complete satisfaction are our priority.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, you are invited to use our online form by clicking here.

Categories: Periodontics