How can I get rid of bad taste in my mouth during pregnancy?

Having a bad or metallic taste in your mouth during pregnancy is a common complaint. This condition is known as dysgeusia or metallic taste and it affects up to 56% of women at some point in their pregnancy. While it’s not harmful, it can be unpleasant and annoying to deal with on a daily basis.

What causes bad taste during pregnancy?

There are a few theories as to what causes metallic taste in pregnancy:

  • Hormonal changes – Pregnancy hormones like estrogen and progesterone fluctuate a lot, especially in the first trimester. These hormones can change how taste buds perceive flavors.
  • Pregnancy rhinitis – Up to 30% of pregnant women experience stuffy nose and sinus issues, which can alter taste.
  • Acid reflux – Common in pregnancy, acid reflux exposes taste buds to stomach acid, creating an unpleasant taste.
  • Enhanced smell – Pregnancy can heighten smell sensitivity, making some smells and tastes seem more intense.
  • Changes in diet – Some prenatal vitamins or increased calcium intake can create a temporary metallic taste until the body adjusts.
  • Nausea/vomiting – Repeated vomiting exposes taste buds to stomach acid, contributing to bad taste.

The exact biological mechanisms behind metallic mouth in pregnancy are still being investigated. But shifting hormone levels and changes in the mucus membranes definitely play a role for many women.

When does it start and how long does it last?

Most women notice metallic taste emerging sometime in the first trimester as hormone levels rise rapidly. It’s most common from week 6 through week 14 of pregnancy.

For up to a third of women, it lasts only a few weeks as the body adjusts to the hormonal changes. But for some unlucky women, it can last the entire pregnancy. There’s no way to predict how long it will last for you unfortunately.

How to get rid of metallic taste during pregnancy

While you can’t cure metallic taste completely, you can minimize it with the following tips:

Rinse with baking soda and salt water

Rinsing your mouth with a baking soda and salt solution can temporarily neutralize bad tastes. Mix 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp salt into 1 cup warm water. Swish the solution in your mouth for 30 seconds and spit. Rinse your mouth with plain water afterwards.

Suck on lemon drops, mints, or popsicles

Sucking on something tart like a lemon drop, mint, or even a sour popsicle can stimulate saliva production, helping to rinse away the bad taste.

Brush your teeth after meals

Gently brushing your teeth, tongue, and roof of your mouth removes lingering food and bacteria that could be causing persistent bad taste. Use a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.

Avoid trigger foods

Refined carbs, sugars, caffeinated drinks, and acidic foods can make metallic taste worse for some women. Avoiding these common pregnancy triggers could minimize bad taste.

Use plastic utensils

Switching from metal to plastic utensils can help, as the metallic flavor from metal utensils contributes to a bad taste with eating.

Try sugar-free gum or lozenges

Chewing gum or sucking on a lozenge can stimulate saliva flow to reduce metallic taste. Opt for sugar-free options.

Drink more water

Staying hydrated dilutes bad tastes and flushes your mouth. Aim for the recommended 8-12 cups of water daily in pregnancy.

Add lemon to your water

For extra punch, add lemon slices or a squirt of lemon juice to your glass of water. Citrus helps rinse away unpleasant taste.

Rinse with coconut oil

Swishing with coconut oil for 30-60 seconds can coat your mouth and block metallic taste temporarily. Spit out after rinsing.

Chew fennel, ginger, or peppermint

These natural foods have strong flavors and properties that help override and mask metallic tastes.

Use plastic or enamel cookware

Avoid cooking acidic foods in cast iron pots and pans, as the metal taste can leach into foods. Opt for ceramic, glass, or enameled cookware instead.

Ventilate cooking areas

Make sure your kitchen is ventilated well when cooking, to prevent lingering metallic cooking smells that could affect taste.

Rinse mouth after vomiting

Repeated vomiting can create an acid taste in the mouth. Always rinse your mouth with baking soda solution or plain water after throwing up.

When to see a doctor

Metallic taste caused by pregnancy hormones or food triggers is harmless. But if it persists, see your doctor to rule out other medical issues that could be the cause, like:

  • Gingivitis or gum infection
  • Allergies
  • Sinus infection
  • Acid reflux
  • Nasal polyps
  • Respiratory infection
  • Kidney or liver issues
  • Diabetes
  • Neurological disorder
  • Zinc deficiency

While metallic mouth itself is not dangerous, it could point to an underlying issue that needs treatment. It’s also possible your prenatal vitamin is contributing to the unpleasant taste.

When to call your doctor immediately

In extremely rare cases, an intense metallic or foul taste can signal a medical emergency. Call your OB-GYN right away if any of the following occur:

  • Metallic taste combined with bleeding gums
  • Metallic taste and signs of preeclampsia like high blood pressure, headaches or blurry vision
  • Sudden, severe metallic taste along with vomiting, fever or diarrhea
  • Metallic taste that appears suddenly in the 3rd trimester after not having it earlier

While most causes of metallic taste in pregnancy are harmless, call your doctor immediately with any concerning symptoms associated with the bad taste.

Coping with metallic taste

While you can’t totally banish metallic taste in pregnancy, you can try to manage it as best as possible:

  • Suck on lemon drops, mints, or popsicles throughout the day
  • Rinse with baking soda, salt water, or coconut oil frequently
  • Brush teeth after meals and before bedtime
  • Avoid metallic utensils and cookware
  • Drink through a straw to minimize contact with taste buds
  • Add spices and seasonings to foods to mask the bad taste
  • Opt for cold foods, as they can numb taste buds temporarily
  • Drink more water and juices to rinse the mouth
  • Chew gum or lozenges if allowed by your doctor

While metallic mouth can be really frustrating, take comfort that it should eventually dissipate in the second trimester for most women. Bringing up the issue with your doctor can also provide reassurance that it’s a normal part of pregnancy.

When to try supplements

If self-help measures and food tricks don’t provide relief, talk to your doctor about trying supplements specifically for metallic taste relief. Options include:

  • Zinc supplements – Zinc deficiency is linked to taste issues, and supplements may help.
  • Vitamin B supplements – B vitamins contribute to healthy taste bud function.
  • Choline supplements – Choline influences taste perception and may minimize bad tastes.

Never take any supplements during pregnancy unless approved by your OB-GYN. But these options are considered safe and may provide relief if other approaches fail. Take them exactly as directed.

When to change prenatal vitamins

If bad taste arises after starting prenatals, the metallic minerals like iron could be the culprit. Talk to your doctor about switching to a gentle prenatal vitamin that contains folate instead of iron.

Never change or stop taking prenatals without your doctor’s guidance. But adjusting the type or brand may make a difference if they trigger metallic mouth.

Foods and drinks to help metallic taste

Certain foods and drinks can help mask or rinse away metallic flavor during pregnancy:

  • Citrus fruits like lemon, lime, orange
  • Tart juices like cranberry, grapefruit, or pineapple juice
  • Sour candies like Sour Patch Kids, Warheads
  • Pickles, olives, vinegar
  • Spicy seasonings like chili powder, cayenne, garlic
  • Mint tea, peppermint tea
  • Ginger ale, root beer, ginger tea
  • Yogurt or frozen yogurt
  • Bland foods like oatmeal, bananas, rice

Sour, minty, gingery, and plain foods can all help temporarily mask or rinse away unpleasant tastes. But remember to get your doctor’s okay before making any major dietary changes.

When to call your dentist

If you have red, inflamed gums combined with the metallic taste, pregnancy gingivitis could be to blame. Call your dentist for an evaluation. Professional cleaning and topical antibiotics may provide relief.

Let your dentist know you are pregnant before proceeding with x-rays, medications, or treatments. Regular cleanings and checkups are encouraged during pregnancy to monitor oral health.

Taste changes after pregnancy

The good news is metallic taste caused by pregnancy hormones usually resolves completely in the second trimester as your body adjusts. Taste perception should return to normal within a few weeks after delivery.

But postpartum taste changes can occur too, especially while breastfeeding. Some nursing women report metallic, sour, or strange tastes. Staying hydrated and limiting trigger foods can help minimize taste issues while breastfeeding.

When to see an ENT doctor

If you develop full mouth numbness or lose your sense of taste entirely, see an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT) promptly. This can signal nerve damage or other issues needing evaluation.

Isolated metallic taste is harmless, but neurological taste disorders arise rarely during pregnancy. See an ENT right away for numbness, complete loss of taste, or altered sense of smell as well.


Having to deal with metallic or bad taste for weeks or months can be discouraging. But take heart that it should resolve by the second trimester for most women.

While annoying, rest assured that metallic taste in itself causes no harm in pregnancy. Focus on masking the symptoms and staying nourished with a healthy diet.

If it becomes severe or persists long-term, do consult your doctor to rule out underlying medical issues. But in most cases, just having patience and using self-help tricks will get you through this strange pregnancy symptom!

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