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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Total Food Loss

10/19/2010

Question:

Hi there, I am writing this for my mom. About 6 weeks ago, after a week of a foul taste in her mouth that she said tasted like vomit. Then, she lost all ability to taste her food about a week later. She has not had any change in medication, no smell loss, no cancer or cancer treatment. She did have a root canal about a week before, but, that was it. Very slowly her taste buds are coming back, but, she says she is only at about 35% of her normal taste. She is diabetic, type 2. She is a senior citizen, but in pretty good health. I am not sure what else u would need to know. She has not been ill, or suffering from any rare conditions.

Answer:

From the information that you have provided, it is difficult to determine why your mother has suffered a loss sense of taste and why it has partially returned. 

The foul taste could come from gastric reflux or something of this manner. It is possible that she had an abscessed tooth which would have precipitated the need for the root canal. 

It is possible that she could have other dental problems such as decayed teeth or periodontal disease. 

It would be best for her to have a complete dental check up including radiographs to rule out any oral diseases. It is also possible that her diabetes is not under control as this can have some effect on taste. It is also possible that she is having reduced salivary flow which can also have an effect on sense of taste. Her dentist should be able to help her narrow the possibilities for this change.

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Response by:

D Stanley Sharples, DDS
Clinical Assistant Professor of Primary Care Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University