Sweet Taste in Mouth Causes: Symptoms and Treatment

Sweet taste in mouths is brought about by eating candies or drinking soda. However, if you frequently have a sweet sensation in your mouth without consuming sugary foods you might be worried about this condition. Having a heightened sense of taste is known as hypergeusia. Although many people complain of bitter or sour taste in their mouth, the abnormal taste sensation can cause a sweet taste in your mouth.

The ongoing sweet sensation in your mouth can be caused by a number of medical reasons. For example, diabetes, medications or a bacterial infection are causes of sweetness in your mouth. Some people on a low-carb diet say that they develop a constant sweet taste in their mouths. However, the sweet taste in your mouth can be a sign of a more serious condition like lung cancer.
Most people worry when they experience a bitter, metallic or unpleasant taste in their mouth.
Any change in gustatory perception and an unexplained taste in the mouth, however, could be a sign of a problem. You have to know when  a sweet taste in the mouth a reason to worry and when is it something that will simply go away on its own.

what could Cause a Sweet Taste in your mouth

Several medical conditions could contribute to experiencing a constant sweet taste in the mouth. The most common medical problems include the following:

  1. Diabetes

This interferes with how insulin in the body affects blood sugar levels. This results in high levels of sugar in the blood and in some cases, causes a constant sweet taste in your mouth. If you have diabetes, it is important to control your blood sugar levels properly to avoid diabetes complications.
Diabetes can cause changes to your sense of taste.
A study in 2016 from Brazil found that many diabetic patients have a reduced ability to detect sweet tastes. The researchers found that people with diabetes are less sensitive to sweet stimuli. This can lead to an increase in sugar consumption which can aggravate the symptoms of diabetes.
On the other hand, one serious diabetic complication which is actually linked to constant sweet taste in mouth is diabetic ketoacidosis. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the body can’t use sugar for fuel. It then breaks down fat for fuel and this causes blood acids called ketones to build up. This can cause you to have a fruity-scented breath.

  1. Neurological problems

Damage to your taste sensory nerves could leave you with a constant sweet taste in your mouth. For example, if you have suffered a stroke or have seizures, your sense of taste can be either heightened or impaired. The Canadian Journal of Neuroscience Nursing reported that strokes can cause smell and taste dysfunction.

For example, after a stroke, some people lose the ability to detect all tastes apart from sweet taste in mouth. This can have a negative impact on quality of life and lead to nutritional issues.
Another study found that a brain tumor affected a person’s sense of taste so that everything tasted either sweet or salty. When the tumor was successfully treated, the sense of taste returned and the patient lost the constant sweet sensation from eating food.

  1. Bacterial infections

Sometimes, a bacterial infection of your upper respiratory tract can leave you with a sweet taste in your mouth. Bacterial infections can interfere with how your brain responds to sweet, bitter, sour, and salty tastes. If you have had a cold, flu, or a sinus infection, you might find that you have a sensation of sweetness in your mouth until the infection clears.
The Journal of Clinical Investigation found that infections to the airways affect taste receptors. One of the consequences of this is that it affects your sweet taste receptors and causes elevated glucose levels in nasal secretions.

  1. GERD

GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disorder. It is characterized by an acid imbalance in the stomach. This is the main reason why people suffering from GERD could experience a strange and persistent taste in their mouth, including a sweet taste, according to WebMD.
People that suffer from GERD will also experience a constant sensation of fullness and bloating, inability to consume certain foods, acid reflux and vomiting. If the sweet taste in the mouth is accompanied by any of the mentioned symptoms, a medical diagnosis will be required.

  1. Medications

A constant sweet taste in mouth is a side effect of some medications. Of course, if you are taking medications for a serious illness or disease, then the constant sensation of sweetness in your mouth is only a minor side effect of the drugs.
The American Academy of Family Physicians reported that certain medications can alter your sense of taste. For example, some high-blood pressure medications can cause you to have a strong sweet taste in your mouth.

  1. Your sense of smell

An altered sense of smell can also cause you to only taste sweet things when you eat or drink. According to Neil Lava on WebMD, your ability to smell directly affects your ability to taste. A loss of smell could mean that you can only taste a few flavors. A study published in the journal Chemical Senses reported that various odors can affect how we taste different foods. Certain odors enhance sweet tastes while other smells inhibit your ability to taste sweet things.

  1. Being on a low-carb diet

Many people who follow a low – carb diet report that they develop a constant fruity, sweet taste in mouth. Low-carb diets have helped many people to lose weight quickly and naturally. The function of carbohydrates in the body is to provide a source of fuel. A diet that restricts carbohydrates can actually have a positive effect on insulin levels, reduce food cravings, and boost metabolism
The sweet taste in your mouth while on a low-carb diet comes from the process called ketosis. This is where your body starts burning fat for energy and this causes acids called ketones build up in the body. This can cause sweetness in your mouth.

  1. Oral submucous fibrosis (OSF)

This is a disease that affects people who chew betel nut. OSF causes serious complications and can lead to oral cancer. However, oral submucous fibrosis can also cause a feeling of sweetness in the mouth that doesn’t go away.
The journal Contemporary Clinical Dentistry reported that people suffering from OSF have experienced heightened senses of taste. Among the dysfunctions that oral submucous fibrosis causes are, a persistent sweet taste in mouth.

  1. Lung cancer

In rare occasions, an unpleasant sweet taste in the mouth could be one of the signs of lung cancer. This occurs because sometimes tumors in the lung can cause high levels of a hormone that affects a person’s sense of taste. Researchers have found that a taste-modifying substance can cause patients to interpret all foods as sweet.
Of course, a constant sweet taste in your mouth doesn’t mean you have lung cancer. There are many other, more common symptoms of lung cancer that you should be aware of.

  1. Pseudomonas infection

This results from infection caused by a bacterium known as pseudomonas. This infection leads to sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses) and occasionally alters the taste buds thereby causing sweet taste in the mouth. A more severe infection would bring about impairment in the functions of the taste receptors. Further attacks by the bacterium could lead to swimmer’s ear and itchy nose. Pseudomonas can also infect the lungs where it produces cough with or without sputum production, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing.

  1. Indigestion

This symptom could come from acid reflux problem. When more acid is formed in the stomach, some acid are pushed back into the gut leading to sweet taste in mouth. Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) characterized by backup of particles of food into the mouth, with smell and taste of food. Other symptoms of GERD include chest pain and burning sensation in the stomach.

  1. Epileptic attack

Some forms of epileptic attack, notably the grand mal, go through a warning stage (aura stage) which is characterized by unusual sound, flash of light, and taste in the mouth.

  1. Ketosis

When the body depends on fat for energy, the breakdown of the fats lead to the release of chemicals known as ketones. This condition is known as ketosis. Ketones also produce a byproduct referred to as acetone. It is this acetone that you breathe out, which is responsible for the fruity smell or taste that is experienced. Ketosis occurs in diabetes when there is a drop in the level of blood sugar and insulin.
Conditions that give rise to drop in blood sugar level include going on weight loss diets with low carbohydrate and high protein contents, excessive exercise, anorexia etc. This is why there could be sweet taste in the mouth after exercise or even when you are not exerting yourself physically.

Is Sweet Taste in Mouth a Pregnancy Symptom

Occasionally, there could be sweet taste in the mouth during pregnancy. Where this occurs, it is not an entirely strange phenomenon. A lot of women are known to experience metallic taste during pregnancy, which is usually a sign of early pregnancy.
However, some women have sweet ness in your mouth during pregnancy as a result of gastrointestinal changes such as acid reflux. When acid reflux occurs, some acid are pushed up into the gut leading to acid taste in mouth. This is the same way that the taste in mouth during pregnancy occurs.
This problem occurs in about seven percent of all pregnant women. The main prominent risk factors responsible for developing sweet taste in mouth during pregnancy include:

  • A history of type 2 diabetes in the family
  • History of previous pregnancy that resulted in gestational diabetes
  • Obesity or overweight
  • Being in pre-diabetic condition before pregnancy
  • Previous history of pregnancyresulting in a baby with birth weight of 10 pounds (4.5kg) or more
  • Being 25 years or older during the period of pregnancy

Though in majority of the cases the symptoms disappear on its own, it is advisable to see the physician to rule out pregnancy -induced diabetes mellitus which usually starts during pregnancy and is diagnosed during the same period.
Diagnostic Process
Physicians know which medical conditions are most likely to cause a sweet taste in the mouth. They’ll do a thorough physical and order a couple of lab exams to rule out the most prominent conditions. Usually, physicians will check for digestive issues first. These are most common and they typically contribute to an altered taste. If you have diabetes risk factors, your blood glucose levels will be checked out, as well.
Common Treatments
The treatment for an unpleasant sweet taste in mouth will depend entirely on the condition that is causing the symptom.

  • If the sweet taste is an isolated occurrence, your doctor will suggest waiting for the problem to get resolved on its own.
  • The treatment for GERD is complex and it involves the use ofanti-acid to neutralize stomach acid, medications that keep acid production at a healthy level and diet changes.
  • The treatment for type 2 diabetes is insulin therapy, diet changes, regularexercise and regular blood sugar monitoring.

Why is there a Sweet Taste in Mouth at Night?

Most of the time you would be able to identify a sour taste in the mouth as being due to stomach acid when it is accompanied by heartburn, nausea and indigestion.
However, people who suffer with silent acid reflux may only have symptoms like a sour taste or sore throat typically in the morning after awaking from sleep.
Sometimes the taste may be more bitter than sour. This is usually with bile reflux, where bile from the gallbladder travels from the duodenum all the way up to the mouth.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Brushing your teeth daily, twice daily preferably, with flossing and rinsing using a good mouth wash are the key practices in maintaining good oral hygiene. The mouth is teeming with bacteria that feed off the food particles between the teeth, on the tongue and the other nooks and crannies within the mouth at night. A range of mouth and dental problems can arise with poor hygiene which may cause a funny taste in the mouth.
Mouth and Dental Problems
A number of different mouth and dental problems can arise and a strange taste in mouth at night may be one of the symptoms. From tooth decay to gingivitis and oral candidiasis, any disease involving the mouth and teeth may affect the taste buds. Sometimes it is due to secretions from the diseased area but at other times it may be that the disease process is causing an abnormal stimulation of the taste buds.

Reasons for a Sweet Taste in Mouth in Morning

Sweet taste in your mouth in early morning can come from poorly controlled blood glucose in diabetics. Excess glucose gets deposited in between the gums/teeth thereby resulting in the sweet taste that you notice in the morning. This is one of the reasons while dental care is highly advocated for people suffering from diabetes.
The sweet taste in your mouth in early morning often goes away after brushing. Sometimes, it gets less after drinking water, which helps to reduce the concentration of the sugar in the gums. In some cases, a visit to the dentist may be the first place to discover that you actually have diabetes even though the symptoms are not yet visible.

Why does Water Taste Sweet to me?

Infections in the nose, throat and/or sinuses, particularly bacteria known as pseudomonas, may contribute to a sweet smell or taste when you drink water or after. This is a bacterium that may cause sinuses and other infections of ear, nose, and throat particularly in those individuals with immune systems that are compromised.
This bacterium often creates infections of the urinary tract as well as pneumonia. Even though pseudomonas may cause the taste of sweetness in the mouth, infections by pseudomonas can also be life-threatening. But normal individual may get infections with pseudomonas and do just fine.

How to Get Rid of a Sweet Taste in Mouth

You need to consult your doctor if you start sensing constant sweet taste in your mouth. He would find out the underlying cause for this problem which is only a symptom of some other disease. The treatment depends on the underlying factor that causes the problem.
Below are some of the things you could do to reduce the unpleasant symptoms you are experiencing.
Get rid of acid reflux
Since GERD has been fingered as one of the causes of sweet taste in the mouth, one way to treat the problem therefore, is to treat the GERD. This can be done by employing a combination of medications such as antacids, H2 receptor antagonists, Proton Pump Inhibitors, etc. They play a major role in helping to reduce acid reflux thereby reducing the symptoms of GERD.
Treat diabetes
Taking care of diabetes will also eliminate the sweet taste in mouth if it is associated with the disease. The type of drug to use for diabetes management depends on the type of diabetes, whether insulin-Dependent or Non-Insulin Dependent. For insulin dependent diabetes, the use of insulin helps to put the high blood sugar under control. Non-Insulin Dependent diabetes would need multiple drug therapy like Metformin, and Glibenclamide or Chlorpropamide, etc for the control of blood sugar.
The above treatments can be augmented with exercises and change in diet. Some forms of regulated diets are prescribed for diabetic patients as medications alone are hardly sufficient to take care of the condition.
Treat cancer
The offending cancer can be treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery depending on the stage of the cancer. When this is appropriately handled, the sodium imbalance can be restored or other measures can be specifically taken to correct the hyponatraemia which is responsible for the sweet taste in mouth. Temporary measures aimed at controlling the sodium imbalance would only produce temporary relief until the underlying cause is pragmatically addressed.
Pseudomonas infection should be treated with the right antibiotics. It usually responds positively to one or more of the following antibiotics – Ciprofloxacin or levofloxacin, ceftazidime, gentamicin, ureidopenicillins, carbapenems, cefepime and ticarcillin. It is good to run the necessary tests in order to determine the best antibiotics to use for the treatments of the infection.
Watch your diet
If the taste is coming from your diet, change the diet or try and rinse your mouth thoroughly after eating. This will get rid of those artificial sweeteners sticking to your tongue and gums. Avoid foods that contain high concentrates of sugar. In addition, avoiding concentrated sugars would also help put your blood sugar under control if you are a diabetic.
Alternative treatments
Sweet taste in mouth does not respond to orthodox treatment alone. It sometimes responds positively to alternative medicine especially when used to supplement the orthodox ones. However, you must be aware that alternative medicine may not be trusted when there are serious problems like diabetes type 2 and nerve damage. So, if you have ruled out the existence of the aforementioned disease conditions, you can now make use of any of the following alternative medicines:

  • Probiotic: Probiotic supplement are highly useful for improving digestion. They are bacteria that are highly beneficial for the preservation of healthy intestines that eventually assist in proper digestion. Probiotic can be found in foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, miso soup, kefir and kimchi.
  • Supplements: Supplements containing digestive enzymes are also useful for the management of problems resulting from indigestion. They assist the GIT in breaking down food and making digestion easier. You can easily order for any of them from online stores.

More references

  1. Sweet taste in your mouth: http://scarysymptoms.com/2012/01/sweet-taste-in-mouth-causes-and/
  2. A constant sweet taste in the mouth: http://health-benefits-of.net/sweet-taste-mouth
  3. Causes of sweet taste in the mouth: https://safesymptoms.com/sweet-taste-in-mouth/
  4. Sweet taste: http://mddk.com/sweet-taste-in-mouth.html