1/14/12

Salty Taste in Your Mouth? Causes & Treatment

A salty taste in the mouth, without having eating high sodium foods, can have some definite medical causes; that salty taste in your mouth is not in your head.
“Patients can have a salty taste in their mouth from a postnasal drip,” says Jordan S. Josephson, MD, FACS, Nasal and Sinus Specialist, Lenox Hill Hospital, Author of Sinus Relief Now.

“Typically a person has one to two liters of mucus that they produce in their nose and sinuses, which gets passed into their throat and then swallowed each day, continues Dr. Josephson. 

“The mucus is part of the filtration system of the nose and sinuses and cleans their that we breathe of bacteria, virus, fungus and pollutants and chemicals. So everyone has a postnasal drip and this is an important protective mechanism.”

A salty mouth sensation doesn’t always result from postnasal drip. Dr. Josephson adds, “When there are problems in the nose and sinuses  --  whether they are allergy, infection (bacteria, viral or fungal), or inflammatory (pollution or chemical), the mucus often will have a different consistency, pH and salt level. 

"This leads many to complain about postnasal drip. The patients whose salt content in their mucus increases can complain of a salty taste in their mouth. In this circumstance the salty mucus coats their taste buds, causing them a salty taste.”

“The salty taste is most likely secondary to allergy and/or sinus problems. These are the most common causes, and if you suffer from this symptom you are not alone. Sinus problems are very common and over 40 million people in the United States suffer from chronic sinusitis. Worse, there are many people who are debilitated with sinus problems.”

So what should you do if a salty sensation in your mouth is driving you batty? Says Dr. Josephson, “The treatment consists of making an accurate diagnosis to the reason causing the change in the mucus (postnasal drip) and then formulating a targeted treatment to return the mucus to near-normal consistency. The problem may not be as straightforward and simple as one may think. It is important for the patient with this problem to get to a physician who is thorough is the history taking and the physical examination and one who is well versed in taste and smell and sinus issues.”


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