Have you ever tried eating a chocolate cake that seems to taste salty? How about having a metallic taste in mouth even if you did not eat or drink anything? I experienced having a metallic taste before and it really frustrated me because it has affected my ability to enjoy my food and drink. Good thing my condition ended shortly and did not last for many days. But I know of some people who have borne with this problem for a long time.
Historically, it can be hard to diagnose and treat taste disorders. More often, it is because of the inadequate understanding about the sense of taste and the state of the disorder. Aside from being a primary symptom, any abnormalities in taste such as metal or salty taste in mouth could also be just a result of other underlying diseases.
What complicates the diagnosis of taste disorders is the fact that the sense of taste and smell is also interrelated. Sometimes, a person who thinks he is having a taste disorder may actually be suffering from a smell disorder. The brain normally receives signals or sensations about a particular taste and smell. The brain integrates these signals or sensations so that you could recognize and appreciate the different flavors.
It is not very clear how prevalent a taste disorder is. The latest data available is from a survey in 1994 revealing 1.1 million Americans suffering from a gustatory problem or from something that has to do with their sense of taste. And you may already be one of them without you knowing or recognizing it. Although some cases of taste disorder will just go away after a few days, or until the underlying condition is treated, some could persist for a long time unless it is treated and diagnosed.
Most types of taste disorders are curable. If the problem is beyond treatment, patients normally undergo counselling to adjust to their condition.
If you have a taste disorder, it would be good to see an otolaryngologist, a doctor who specializes in problems relating to smell and taste. They can help identify the root cause of your problem so that treatment could be started. If the disorder is caused by an underlying health condition, you may be referred to a general physician and another specialist for treatment. Once the primary health issue is treated, your disorder may also follow. However, if it is caused by certain medications, you may have to see your physician and discuss your problem. You should not immediately stop taking your medication unless you have approval from the doctor who prescribed it. As to some people with a smell disorder, once it is treated, your sense of taste will also return spontaneously. Also part of the treatment process is to observe proper oral hygiene because more often, it could aggravate your symptoms.
Among my fellow drivers, I have rarely encountered someone who has a problem with his or her taste buds. But this does not really indicate that this condition does not exist among us. You may just not know it but you are already suffering from this problem. If you feel any abnormalities in the way your food tastes or in the way you feel a taste in your mouth even when you are not eating anything, it is best to see an otolaryngologist as soon as possible.