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An unpleasant taste remains in your mouth, or appears when you taste something? Maybe it’s dysgeusia. Explanations.

When our taste faculties are in good shape, we feel an acid taste when tasting lemon, a bitter taste with grapefruit, a sweet taste with a very ripe peach… But taste and smell can be capricious, like the demonstrated by the Covid-19 epidemic. We have heard quite a bit about anosmia, which consists of not feeling anything, and ageusia, the loss of taste. A little bit less dysgeusia: a disorder that disrupts our taste cuesand which can be characterized by the persistence of certain flavors (not necessarily pleasant) in the mouth.

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Changes in taste, why?

The Gustave Roussy Institute recalls the importance of taste, which is not only linked to pleasure: “Through taste, the brain receives important information that will improve the digestion of the food consumed.by controlling the blood flow of the digestive tract and the secretion of digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas and stomach.”

Changes in taste can be linked to different factors, recalls the Institute: modification of the oral flora (antibiotic treatment, reflux problems, poor oral hygiene), inflammation of the mucous membrane mouth due to smoking, treatment (chemotherapy, radiotherapy), a viral infection… But some people have also lost their taste buds after chemotherapy, others have problems with dry mouth or a decreased sense of smell. Aging can also tire out these senses of taste and smell.

Dysgeusia: symptoms and risks

Dysgeusia is defined as an alteration of tastes: what you eat no longer has the same flavor as before, or even has a completely different flavor, which evokes something else: we then speak of “ghost” tastes. The other particularity is to have a persistent taste in the mouth: often bitter or metallic (but not exclusively).

THE risk of taste disturbances, and therefore of dysgeusia, is mainly malnutrition, defined by a weight loss of more than 5% in 1 month, or more than 10% in 6 months. It is usually due to a feeding difficulty, a food blockage or a loss of appetite. When the flavor of food is changed and related to an unpleasant moment, it happens that food is disturbed. If you have it, consult your doctor, dietary supplements can help compensate.

How to limit the persistence of the unpleasant taste?

To reduce the inconvenience of dysgeusia, a guide published by the University Hospital Center of Sherbrooke, in Quebec advises rinsing your mouth regularly, having good oral hygiene, avoiding foods that awaken the unpleasant taste… And offers a homemade mouthwash recipe: 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 liter of water. And do not hesitate to chase away the bad taste by chewing a mint chewing gum for example.

With dysgeusia, several types of tastes can persist in the mouth: acid, sweet, bitter, metallic. To limit bitterness, they recommend, for example,avoid red meats, chocolate, coffee. To start the meal with a sour drink (fruit juice), to lightly sweeten your food, to brown your vegetables or add a white sauce to them, to eat fruit during the meal.

To continue to eat, it is advisable to favor foods that are not unpleasant for you, to try various preparations and cooking methods, to season, eating in small doses regularly if a full meal is too strenuoussays Gustave Roussy.

Sources: Gustave Roussy Institute, Sherbrooke Hospital Center

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