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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Causes of stinging tongue and bland taste?

06/11/2008

Question:

On Saturday morning (6/7/08), I microwaved some corn tortillas and ate them with real butter. I tasted something funny, but then remembered they have lime in them. But the lime didn`t taste quite like lime. It was something my dad bought, not something I usually eat at home.

Later, I noticed that the cinnamon capsule supplement I take three times a day didn`t have any taste when I burped.

Even later, when I had some white baby cheddar cheese popcorn with cayenne pepper powder on it, the top sides of my tongue stung pretty good, but the main part of the tongue did not. That was not a normal sensation for that combination. Never experienced that before in my 47 years of living.

I then ate some of the popcorn WITHOUT the pepper, and the same parts of the tongue that stung previously had a taste, not a sting, but the taste was not the norm for the popcorn.

I then went and brushed my teeth and tongue and rinsed with a super-duper oral hygiene product.

Later in the day, same thing with the popcorn, but not as much sting with the cayenne, so I took a good look at my tongue and everything looked fine: no big bumps or sores or thick coatings or weird colours.

The only thing that I wonder is: I went to the dentist on Thursday (6/5/08) afternoon and did a full series of digital x rays. Lots of biting down on long "sticks" near the sides of my tongue, and I am sure they were covered with latex. Many had to be retaken, because I was very uncomfortable.

Any chance that two days later, I would experience taste bud problems with my tongue due to the latex (or similar material on the x ray stick)? I couldn`t find a thing on the Internet to pinpoint this.

Secondly, I wonder if my symptoms could be from one of my pinched nerves, which I get frequently from my back and neck degenerative disc disease.

Thanks for any insight.

Answer:

In response to your lengthy inquiry, I would first suggest that you contact the dentist that took all the radiographs and probably did an examination at that time in order to determine the type and quantity of radiographs.

you can then ask them these questions that concern you about the "sticks" to hold the film and latex hypersensitivity.

Now with regards to your questions. Lime in tortillas is not lime juice but Calcium hydroxide. This hydrated form of lime (Calcium oxide) is used to break down the outer membrane of the dried corn kernel so that a dough can be formed and a tortilla can be made that is pliable. If anything, the tortilla should have tasted salty. My question is - were they fresh or had they started to mold?

Next issue; a cinnamon capsule? I am not aware of any substantiated medical treatment that uses encapsulated cinnamon. A significant number of persons are hypersensitive to cinnamon (or rather cinnamonaldehyde) and can develop oral lesions in response to the chemical (lichenoid drug reaction).

The popcorn problem is confusing and I cannot give you a rational reason for your response. You describe alteration of taste and pain (heat) and then describe that things don't taste as you expect.

Do you have allergies or sinus problems? Have you had a cold or been on medication for allergies or head colds?

Sometimes a viral infection can alter taste and smell response and you may not enjoy certain foods because of the infection.

Finally, you had a lot of manipulation to your mouth with the radiographic exam. The trauma from trying to get the film placed and you being positioned correctly and having to have multiple retakes may have contributed to your problems.

I hope this helps.

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Response by:

Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University