Taste Changes or Lack of Taste

Taste Changes or Lack of Taste

If you have taste changes or lack of taste:

  • Try adding marinades, herbs, or spices to your food. Don’t add these to your food if you also have mouth sores or painful swallowing.
  • If you have a metallic taste in your mouth, use plastic utensils and avoid drinking out of cans.
  • It’s best to limit or avoid some of your favorite foods during treatment. They may not taste as you remember them. This might make you connect these foods to negative thoughts in the future.

Mouth Sores and Painful Swallowing

If you have mouth sores, painful swallowing, or both:

  • Try eating soft, bland foods. You can read about these in the “Soft and Bland Foods” section.
  • Avoid steaming hot foods and drinks.
  • Don’t eat acidic fruits (such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, or limes) or drink acidic fruit juice.
  • Don’t eat spicy foods.
  • Don’t eat foods with rough textures, such as toast or crackers.
  • Rinse your mouth every 4 to 6 hours, or more often for comfort. Use 1 of the following liquids:
    • One quart (4 cups) of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda
    • One quart of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of salt
    • One quart of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of baking soda o Water
    • A mouthwash with no alcohol or sugar

To rinse, swish and gargle the liquid for 15 to 30 seconds, then spit it out.

If these tips don’t help your mouth pain or painful swallowing, tell your healthcare provider and they may be able to prescribe a medication to help.You can also ask your healthcare provider for a referral to a swallowing specialist. They can recommend foods and liquids that are safe and easy to swallow.