Sweet Taste In Mouth: What, Why, and How

September 19, 2017


Sweet Taste In Mouth: What, Why, and How

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A human tongue can detect at least five basic tastes, which consist of saltiness, bitterness, sourness, umami, and sweetness. And the flavor that is detected by our tongues can tell a lot about our health condition. Constant sweet taste in mouth, for example, has been the reason that causes thousands of people to see their doctors every year.

So if you have been experiencing random sweet taste in mouth, even without eating or drinking anything sweet, don’t freak out just yet because it has also occurred to many other people all over the world.

Everything Tastes Sweet

Your tongue can detect a sweet sensation when you consume sugary food or drinks, like naturally sweet food, namely, honey, or processed food or drinks like soda.

But when you just wake up in the morning, you have already felt a weird sweet taste in mouth, even before consuming any sweet tasting food or drinks. And more severely, when this sweet sensation is just on-going in your mouth, that even water tastes sweet, it might be a signal that is trying to tell you about something abnormal in your body.

Why Do I Have A Sweet Taste In My Mouth?

You may ask yourself: Why does water taste sweet? Is that something I ate? Because of my tap water source? Or that I didn’t brush my teeth and tongue properly? That could be the case.

Otherwise, several medical causes can attribute to the persistent sweet taste in mouth. It can be as simple as being on a low-carb diet since there are cases where people who follow this particular diet claim that they continually taste the sweetness in their mouth.

Meanwhile, other reasons for this sensation aren’t that common since ongoing sweet taste in mouth could be an indication of diabetes or even worse, lung cancer.

Therefore, if you experience incessant sweet sensation without any discernable reasons, below are the probable causes and how to get rid of the sweet taste in mouth.

Are You On A Low-Carb Diet?

When it comes to diets, low-carb diets have proven to make people healthier and lose weight naturally. This diet aims to reduce carbohydrates, which acts as a source of energy, in the body. As a result, our body experiences fewer food cravings, and our metabolism system is boosted.

While following low-carb diets, our body will start looking for another source of energy and burning fat as a result, which leads to ketones, a type of acid, building up in our body. That is why people who follow low-carb diets experience constant sweet, fruity taste in mouth.

According to doctors, this occurrence is not alarming, and a healthy low-carb diet shouldn’t cause any health problem.

Are You Taking Any Medications?

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, some medications can have side effects that alter our sense of taste, which results in sweet taste in mouth. For instance, sweet taste in mouth can be left by some medications for high blood pressure.

If the medicine that you take is to cure severe illness or disease, this condition is only one part of the side effects. But if this persistent sweet sensation affects your daily life, you should talk to your doctor to see whether some alternations to your medication are possible.

Do You Have Any Bacterial Infections?

Have you had flu, a cold or a sinus infection lately? Bacterial infection of the upper respiratory can cause sweet taste in mouth. Researchers have found that taste receptors can be affected by infections to the airways. It can trick your sweet taste receptors and lead to higher glucose levels in nasal secretions.

Therefore, if you had experienced a cold recently, this sensation can linger and affect your taste buds until the infection disappears.

If it’s bacterial infections that bring you inconvenient sweet taste in mouth, a cup of Echinacea tea can help you boost your immune system and ease the cold. Otherwise, garlic, which contains a high amount of antiviruses and antibiotics, could also help you recover quickly from the cold.

Are You Diabetic?


It goes without saying that diabetes is one of the most severe diseases of the 21st century, which kills 1.5 million people yearly and could also be one of the reasons that have been messing with your sense of taste.

This disease interrupts the process in which insulin has effects on our blood sugar levels, leading to the fact that sugar or glucose in our blood sees higher levels. As a result, you can taste the sweetness in your mouth without consuming any sugary products.

Moreover, diabetes has been proven to help charge in or take away the sweetness in the mouth of diabetic patients. One of the reasons that cause people with diabetes to consume more sugary products is that they are less reactive to sweet stimuli, as stated in a study in 2016.

On the other hand, there are also reports that people with diabetes suffer from persistent sweetness in the mouth, which could be a result of diabetic ketoacidosis. While some diabetic patients’ ability to detect sweetness becomes impaired, others claim that they experience fruity taste in mouth constantly.

At Mayo Clinic, doctors have found out that when our body can’t produce fuel from sugar fuel, diabetic ketoacidosis uses fat instead to open a new source of fuel, therefore producing blood acids, which is named ketones. This process leaves sweetness on the tongue and a fruity scent in the breath of people who suffer diabetes. [1]

However, diabetic ketoacidosis doesn’t just mess with our sense of taste; it can also lead to more severe symptoms like cramping, confusion, nausea or extreme thirst. When you have those symptoms, you should check with your doctor to avoid any long-term effect on your health.

Diabetes is a head-aching disease which affects not only your health, your diet but also your lifestyle and combating diabetes could be a life-long battle. So it’s important that you detect this disease at an early stage and consult with your doctor. Some patients can control diabetes with a balanced diet, while some need medication and even have to change their ways of living.

Have You Ever Experienced Stroke?

As the tongue is one of the five sense organs in our bodies, besides eyes, ears, skin, and nose, it could be the nervous system that is behind the unceasing sweet taste in mouth.

According to The Canadian Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, this sensation can occur if the taste sensory nerves are damaged. When human beings experience neurological problems, for example, stroke, seizure disorder, or epilepsy, our tongue’s functions are affected as sweetness is the only flavor that our tongue can sense while other flavors like sourness, saltiness, or spiciness become bland to the taste buds.

However, constant sweet taste in mouth is not a symptom to overlook because there are cases that this is the only sign showing that a person has a stroke, seizures or epilepsy. [2]

This phenomenon can negatively impact our lives and well-being, in particular for patients who have to pay close attention to their diets. Moreover, this taste and smell dysfunction can also result in nutritional issues.

Another cause of uncomfortable sweet taste in mouth relating neurological problems is brain tumor. People suffering from brain tumor can lose their taste sense since the impact from this tumor makes patient be only able to taste sweetness or saltiness. When the tumor get treated successfully, all flavors will come back, and this sweet sensation will disappear.

Have You Suffered From Oral Submucous Fibrosis?

If a person chews betel nut, there’s a chance that he/she is affected by the disease Oral submucous fibrosis, which can lead to serious damage to our health and even oral cancer.

One symptom of this disease is the incessant taste of sweetness in the mouth, as reported by the journal Contemporary Clinical Dentistry.

Are You Dealing With Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD – Heartburn)?

The Mayo Clinic has reported that Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a consequence of constant acid reflux, which is stomach acid or bile, into the esophagus. The digesting process of a human body allows the esophageal sphincter to loosen up when we swallow, so that food and liquid can flow into our stomach, and then close again.

Nevertheless, when an abnormality occurs that causes the valve not to function properly, esophageal sphincter then opens a door that doesn’t close at the bottom part of the esophagus, which allows acid to flow back in through that door and causes frequent heartburn.  

One of the symptoms of this disease is that it tricks human body to think of something that is completely irrelevant to what we are consuming into our bodies. The constant acid reflux can leave an acidic taste in mouth, while others who suffer from GERD have reported that they sensed sweet taste in mouth even though they weren’t consuming any sweetened food or drinks.

This GERD disease can also be linked to depression and anxiety. When you go through an anxiety attack, your breath is heavier, and your mouth becomes dry. That dry feeling can cause the tongue to sense chalky taste in mouth. [3]

Could This Be A Symptom Of Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer

Though statistics don’t show a high number of cases reported, there is still chance that the reason that causes this unpleasant taste of sweetness in the mouth is lung cancer. A sweet taste in mouth doesn’t link directly to lung cancer, but this symptom can’t be taken lightly because sometimes, the tumors in the lung can lead to the fact that a hormone reaches an abnormally high level, which causes taste dysfunction.

Since the taste buds are misguided, no matter what a patient eats or drinks, he or she can still detect it as sweet taste in mouth. [4]

How To Get Rid of Sweet Taste In Mouth?

As stated above, sweet taste in mouth can be brought about by a wide range of medical issues, from bacteria, viruses, daily diets to cancer. So what can we do to avoid this symptom?

Pay Attention To Your Oral Health

First of all, when you have a problem with your taste system, the first suspect should be your oral health. Therefore, improving oral hygiene should be on top of the list.


Oral health

As suggested by Sweetgums Dental, to have a proper oral care right at your home, brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and using non-alcoholic mouthwash should take a good care of your mouth, teeth, and tongue.

Otherwise, frequent professional checkups and cleanings are also advised. Because even with the best toothbrushes, flosses or mouthwashes, you can’t clean all the stubborn stains on your teeth. Therefore, checking in with your dentists regularly will be the best way possible to improve your oral health.

Invest In A Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet would not only reduce the symptoms of an unpleasant taste in mouth, such as sweet, metallic, chalky or even milky taste in mouth, you can also maintain a healthy lifestyle and help prevent many other diseases.

Since you are already suffering from this unpleasant sweetness on your tongue that doesn’t go away, try to controll your consumption of sweetened products. So cakes, chocolates or a can of Coke shouldn’t be on your diet if you are trying to get rid of this sensation.

Instead, a trip to the nearest supermarket to buy yourself some fresh foods, like fruits, vegetables, and light foods for the stomach may help.

Call Your Doctor

If the sweet taste in mouth doesn’t go away, but worsens and affects your daily life, then you should arrange an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible since we know that this taste dysfunction can be linked to cancer or leave serious consequences if not treated properly.

To get the best result, and take a good look at all the possible causes, an appointment with an ear, nose and throat specialist, a neurologist, and also endocrinologist should be scheduled, so that they can perform a complete checkup.

Due to the broad range of causes that can have a symptom like sweet taste in mouth, your checkup with your doctor might include these followings: blood tests, brain scans, CT or MRI scans. These are to check your hormones, blood sugar levels, nerve damage, signs of lung cancer…, all possible cause of this particular symptom and to get it treated promptly.

In conclusion, even though people tend to ignore this symptom, this could be a way of your body to tell you that some part of your body is not functioning well, for many medical problems such as diabetes, neurological problems, lung cancer, GERD,… could be responsible for this symptom. Therefore, if this sweet taste in mouth doesn’t go away, you should take more serious action and seek professional checkup.  

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