What Causes Salty Taste In The Mouth & How To Get Rid Of It?

Topic Overview

It is quite often that people get a salty taste in the mouth. In most cases, it may be due to increased salt content in the saliva which happens when an individual is dehydrated or has spent a long day out in the heat during the summer months. In some cases, it also tends to occur as a result of certain medications that the individual might be taking. Excessive tear production which traverses through the tear ducts into the nose and back of the throat also at times can cause salt taste in the mouth. There are also certain medical conditions like an infection or disorder of the salivary glands that may result in the individual having salty taste in the mouth.[1]

Another common condition like GERD also at times causes an individual to have salty taste in the mouth. It is not a condition that people should be worried about. Generally, increased intake of water resolves the salty taste in the mouth. If this does not happen, then it is most likely being caused by a medication side effect or something is not right with the salivary glands.[1]

This need to be checked by the physician and treatment recommendations should be made accordingly. Even though salty taste in the mouth is not a cause of worry but it can at times be quite frustrating and distracting as foods that an individual may relish may not taste the same. This article explains in detail the various causes and treatment options for salty taste in the mouth.[1]

What Causes Salty Taste In The Mouth?

What Causes Salty Taste In The Mouth?

The most common causes for salty taste in the mouth include:

Postnasal Drip: This is one of the most common causes of salty taste in the mouth. An individual has a postnasal drip when he or she has a sinus infection, is suffering from an allergic reaction or a common cold. During a postnasal drip, there is production of excess mucous some of which drips down the nasal passage into the back of the throat.[2]

This mucous is what causes the individual to have a salty taste in the mouth. Postnasal drip can be easily treated with over-the-counter medications that will clear up the excess mucous and resolve the salty taste.[2]

Dehydration: This is perhaps the most common cause of a salty taste in the mouth. If the body does not have enough fluids the levels of minerals that are rich in salts increase due to lack of balance between salt and water in the body. This is what results in the affected individual having salty taste in the mouth.[2]

Other symptoms associated with dehydration include exhaustion, altered mental awareness, dizziness, decreased urinary frequency. Diarrhea and alcohol binging are the primary causes for dehydration aside from being out in the sun for prolonged periods of time without adequate intake of fluids.[2]

Dry Mouth: This is also one of the primary causes for salty taste in the mouth. People with dry mouth tend to have thick saliva that sticks to the floor of the mouth. This accumulation of the saliva is what causes salty taste in the mouth. Dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications.[2]

However, it is also a symptom of many medical conditions as well. Dry mouth at times is also caused by a congested nose since it causes the individual to breathe from the mouth which causes the mouth to become dry.[2]

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: This is a medical condition which can cause salty taste in the mouth which may last for a significantly long time. GERD causes the stomach acids to regurgitate up the esophagus to the mouth. Along with burning sensation in the chest which is a common symptom of GERD, it can also cause a salty taste in the mouth [2].

Infections: In some cases infections of the salivary gland also can cause a salty taste in the mouth. Gingivitis is the most common infection that causes a salty taste in the mouth. If this condition remains untreated then it leads to development of Periodontitis which can affect the teeth significantly. Periodontitis can lead to the teeth becoming loose, sores on the gums, and foul breath.[2]

Oral thrush is yet another infection that can cause salty taste in the mouth. It also makes the mouth extremely sensitive and the individual may have difficulty in tasting food. Oral thrush is most commonly caused by the human papillomavirus. If the condition remains untreated it may lead to hemoptysis which causes a salty taste in the mouth.[2]

Nutritional Deficiencies: Lack of certain essential nutrients in the body may also at times cause salty taste in the mouth. The nutrients that are deficient in the individual can be identified by the physician by conducting a detailed test and supplements will be given to replenish the levels.[2]

Medication Side Effect: There are many medications that have salty taste in the mouth or dry mouth as a side effect profile. These medications are usually given for treatment of various forms of cancer. In case if a medication is believed to be causing salty taste in the mouth then it should be discussed with the physician to find a suitable alternative.[2]

How To Get Rid of Salty Taste In The Mouth?

Coming to treatment options, in majority of the cases increasing intake of liquids, especially when out in the sun during the summer months, can resolve the condition. In other cases, the underlying cause will have to be identified and treatment plan discussed accordingly. It will usually require a visit to the dentist to check for gingivitis or a physician to check for oral thrush especially if the salty taste in the mouth is accompanied by other symptoms suggestive of an indwelling infection.[2]

If the salty taste in the mouth does not resolve spontaneously or with intake of water and the underlying cause is not treated, then it may lead to a variety of complications and the associated symptoms may even take a turn for the worse. Thus, it is mandatory to get it checked up with a physician to avoid unwarranted complications.[2]

Till the time, an underlying cause for salty taste in the mouth is identified certain home remedies can be followed. These include good oral hygiene practice, mouth rinsing with antibacterial and antifungals, increased fluid intake, abstaining from alcohol, and avoiding spicy foods.[2]

In conclusion, the cause of salty taste in the mouth can be easily diagnosed. If it is due to a medication side effect or due to nutritional deficiencies a simple test by the physician can establish the cause and treatments can be given accordingly. In majority of the cases, the salty taste in the mouth goes away on its own when these causes are treated.[2]

It is always beneficial to get checked up by a physician in cases when salty taste in the mouth is accompanied by other symptoms and usual treatment measures are deemed ineffective.[2]

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