Does Anxiety Cause a Metallic Taste in Your Mouth?

Micah Abraham, BSc

Written by

Micah Abraham, BSc

Last updated October 10, 2020

Does Anxiety Cause a Metallic Taste in Your Mouth?

So many of the symptoms of anxiety are unusual that it is easy to see why many people with anxiety disorders worry that they have some other condition which is potentially more dangerous. Anxiety is a mental health conditional, although it can create some very unusual physical symptoms that tend to increase your stress even further.

Metallic taste is a great example. Many people worry about this metallic taste they get in their mouth during anxiety attacks, wondering if the metallic taste indicates something other than an anxiety disorder. This article explores whether or not anxiety can cause a metallic taste, how, and what you can do about it.

Not everyone experiences fear when they have a metallic taste in their mouths, most people do not notice or worry about what it may be. It tends to be those suffering from panic attacks or health anxiety that worry the most.

Anxiety does appear to cause a metallic taste in people's mouths. What is interesting, however, is that there doesn't appear to be a medical reason for it. Even during the fight or flight response, there isn't necessarily anything activated in the taste buds that should be creating this metallic taste.

So what is happening?

There are a lot of different theories why some people would experience a metallic taste, and all of them appear to be true for different people. These reasons include:

  • Bleeding Gums Stress can cause a reaction from bacteria inside of your mouth that makes your gums bleed. Blood happens to tastes like metal and can be tasted even if the amount of blood is barely perceptible. It is possible that during anxiety attacks and stress that you may be having a minor gum bleed.
  • Over Sensitivity to Taste During periods of anxiety, it is not uncommon for your taste buds to become more sensitive. There is some scientific evidence that suggests during periods of intense stress, taste buds change so that the same taste may have a different effect.
  • Stomach Acid Those with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or other related acid reflux problems, may taste metal when the acids reach the tongue. During times of intense stress and anxiety, stomach acid may be more likely to come up.
  • Medications Medications that are used to treat anxiety may also cause this metallic taste.

Another theory that needs to be considered is that the metallic taste may be what is bringing on the anxiety. Those that have panic attacks and health anxiety may be experiencing a reaction to tasting metal, not the other way around, but the anxiety comes on so quickly that it feels like the anxiety came first.

Only a doctor can ensure that the metal taste in your mouth is related to your anxiety and not something more serious. If you are concerned then please see your doctor.

Since there is no medical reason for the metallic taste, most people continue with the condition and report that the taste goes away on its own over time, regardless of the extent of the anxiety.

You can always try sucking on a breath mint or chewing gum to mask the flavor. In the event of stomach acid contributing to the metallic taste, chewing gum can actually improve digestion and neutralize acid so that it may have some additional benefits.

Overall, however, you are simply going to need to make sure that you control your anxiety and prevent the panic and stress that seems to be causing this metallic taste.

Questions? Comments?

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Where can I go to learn more about Jacobson’s relaxation technique and other similar methods?

– Anonymous patient


You can ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist or other mental health professional who uses relaxation techniques to help patients. Not all psychologists or other mental health professionals are knowledgeable about these techniques, though. Therapists often add their own “twist” to the technqiues. Training varies by the type of technique that they use. Some people also buy CDs and DVDs on progressive muscle relaxation and allow the audio to guide them through the process.

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