Medical Specialty >> Neurology

Doctors Lounge - Neurology Answers

Back to Neurology Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: sweet taste in mouth

 pappy - Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:00 am

About 2 weeks ago I had a mild cold. I am over it now but since then the back of my tongue has a tingly feeling and I have a sweet taste in my mouth, almost like the aftertaste that artificial sweeteners leave behind. I do maintain a very healthy diet but I do eat normal stuff (carbs too). Any ideas what this could be? It's lasted over a week so far. I did stop drinking coffee about the same time this began. Coincidence?
 Theresa Jones, RN - Mon Jan 10, 2005 6:46 am

User avatar Hi pappy,
Colds, flu, etc. may sometimes alter the taste for a short period of time. My question for you, do you have a sore throat? Are there any, for example, white appearing patches? The taste or smell is often decribed as the odor of grapes. This can be a symptom of strep. As for the coffee, that's likely just a coincidence.
 pappy - Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:34 am

no white "patches" but I do have a white coating on my tongue. there is also a small spot about the size of a pea in the center of my tongue that kinda feels like I burned it but I know I didn't. Someone suggested a yeast infection of some sort. guess I should go see the doctor.
 Opportunity - Wed Feb 01, 2006 11:35 am

I've had the similar symptoms for almost 9 months now, seen a number of doctors and so far no luck on finding exactly what it is.

Started last spring when water started to taste "sweet" on the back of my tongue when I drank it. Didn't think much of it at the time. Now months later, it's much worse. I'm a 34 year old male and I have these symptoms daily.

Seems to happen about 1-2 hours after eating a meal generally, but can happen if I've eaten nothing. Imagine chewing a grape lollipop and swishing it around in your mouth for a minute, then swallowing, then rinse your mouth with water. That residual taste is with me 5-8 hours a day, no matter what I eat. At first I thought it might just be a neurological thing, but the taste even makes my sensitive teeth ache, just like the chewed lollipop would, and my gums are a little sore when flossing, which they never were before.

I've also been having heartburn, scratchy throat, and the constant need to clear my throat. Also an awful lot of gas, both belching and farting, no matter what I eat (I've tried a low fat diet for a week, a low carb diet for a week, no dairy for a week, etc. No change). I eat fairly healthy, whole grains as much as possible, veggies, very little junk food, no fast food. I've given up coffee and chocolate but no change really.

Typically no symptoms in the morning after I wake up, just a bad taste in my mouth, then it comes on one or two hours after I wake up and start moving around, or one to two hours after I eat, not right after.

Went to see an Ear/Nose/Throat specialist about three months ago, he noticed white spots on my tonsils and a red scratchy throat, told me I had tonsillitis and heartburn, prescribed Prilosec (which helped the heartburn a little, not much, did nothing for my throat or the taste) and told me to get more sleep.

My primary care Doctor thinks it might all be due to GERD, but I can't find anyone else with GERD who also has this "sweet taste" symptom, and taking things like Tums don't help the taste at all, although it does help the heartburn a little.

I have an appointment with a gastroenterologist, but not until the end of February.

Is it possible that I've got some odd throat bacteria/fungus causing all this, including the heartburn and the excess gas? My primary care doctor said it sounds like classic GERD (odd in a healthy, active 34 year old) except for the sweet taste and gas issues. Perhaps it's just the way the small amounts of acid affect my taste buds and the acid is also causing the tooth sensitivity.

Anyone have any suggestions or have a similar problem?
 pappy - Wed Feb 01, 2006 11:48 am

after a few months my problem went away. My PCP presrcibed a mouth rinse, I forget what it was called. I was very sweet and was supposed to help with something called thrush but it turned out not to be thrush at all. I also checked with an infectious disease specialist who checked me for HIV, cancer and STDs but turned up nothing. Mine did not last as long as yours so I would probably continue to pursue a prognosis until you find an answer. Good luck. I know how frustrating it can be when doctors cannot give you a straight answer to an uncomfortable situation.
 Theresa Jones, RN - Wed Feb 01, 2006 12:10 pm

User avatar Hi Opportunity,
I noticed that you stated you had been evaluated by an ENT, was a swab done (culture) by any chance to check for a strep infection? Do you have any other unusual symptoms for example, increased thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision, etc. ? Essentially I'm inquiring whether Diabetes has been ruled out as a causative factor as well. If evaluation for either of these disorders have not been done i would encourage you to inquire with your physician about both of these to rule them out as a causative factor.
Theresa Jones, RN

Hi pappy,
I'm glad to hear you finally had improvement with your symptoms.
Most likely the name of the medication was Nystatin suspension ;)
Theresa Jones, RN
 Opportunity - Wed Feb 01, 2006 1:35 pm

The ENT doctor I saw just kind of brushed me off as a stress case (I have twin 3 year old boys and haven't gotten a lot of sleep the past few years). I don't think I spent more than 5 minutes with him. No throat swab was done.

Could I have strep for 9 months without having other symptoms?

As for diabetes, I had three blood tests done during the course of all this (switched PCP's in the middle since I moved, and once more for H.Pylori). No H.Pylori, blood sugar always 70-90, salts, potassium, etc, all normal. I haven't had a glucose stress test though.

I'd be willing to accept the GERD diagnosis (it does seem to occur mostly after I eat) if I could find someone else who also had the same sweet taste symptom as part of their GERD, but so far nothing.

Could it be a gas issue? I do seem to have excessive flatulence and lots of intestinal gas along with this, and I've heard people say that some of the gas can be absorbed through the intestines and expelled in your breath. I have noticed that the taste is much stronger when I'm breathing a lot (like when blowing up a balloon). I think I'm just grasping at straws now. ;)
 Theresa Jones, RN - Thu Feb 02, 2006 7:01 am

User avatar Hi Opportunity,
You would not have strep for this extended period of time without other symptoms as untreated strep causes numerous complications. I was actually curious as whether or not a culture had been done because generally speaking when I hear a complaint of a grape like odor along with unusual finding in the throat, strep infections are one of the first things I consider. Your fasting glucose levels are in with in normal range but other endocrine disorders aside from diabetes, for example thyroid dysfunction may cause this symptom as well. The sense of smell and taste are very closely related. Disorders such as gingivitis, sinus infections, respiratory infections, certain medications, etc. causes alterations in taste. I have not heard of GERD causing a sweet taste in the mouth so I did a little research. GERD may cause alterations in taste so this certainly isn't impossible as I found in the following links that I will insert in this post. On the first link view the section under medical history.
Click here!
On the second link view the last paragraph under treatment of smell or taste disorders.
Click here!
I hope this is somewhat helpful.
Theresa Jones, RN
 Opportunity - Tue Mar 07, 2006 9:50 am

FYI to anyone that finds this, my most recent diagnosis is heartburn basically. Something called Laryngopharyngeal reflux disease, where small amounts of acid and/or other digestive juices make it all the way up into your throat and mouth, where it is apparently messing up my throat and taste buds.

It can occur in the absence of any other heartburn symptoms and cause hoarse throat, scratchy throats, and taste issues.

Been taking Prilosec heartburn medication for it, which has helped a little, but apparently it can take more than 6 months on the Prilosec to start making a difference.
 tina521 - Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:06 pm

I have had a sweet taste in my mouth since January 07. I was treated for a year for "excessive stomach acid" Double and Triple doses of all acid blocks. Nothing worked. Checked for diabetes. Switched Dr's in Jan 08, Tested for Celiac, Mri done to check for Brain Tumor, Pelvic and Stomach ultrasounds done. Stomach CT's Done, End up in hospital in July 08. Found Gallbladder only working at 19%. Gallbladder was removed approx, 4 weeks ago. Was told Sweet taste is not typical sign of Gallbladder disease. Saw Gastro. specialist at U of M. No Idea?

Need help with which direction to go next.

 jeolmstead - Thu Jun 04, 2009 4:09 pm

Last year it was salt, I had an awful salty taste in my mouth. Went to the Doctor, all lab work was normal. The problem disapeared after a few months. Now it is back and now it is sweet. Everything I drink or eat tastes as if it was sweetened.

John O.
 susieQ1 - Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:55 am

Did your symptoms ever clear up? I've had the same problem now, weeks after a strep throat or viral inf. The strep did not test positive in the office but nurse thought it looked like strep. The taste is so bad I get nauseous. Thanks.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us