Smell and Taste Alterations
While I do not have a terrible amount of experience with smell and taste alterations, I have had a few accounts. These alterations range from short to long-term alterations.
When I say “smell sensitivity,” I’m referring to when a smell becomes heightened – it becomes stronger. This means that what was once only smelt close up can now be smelt from farther away at the same potency.
This also refers to when a smell at low amounts causes symptoms like nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, or headache that in “normal” people would only be experienced in very high amounts.
For example, the difference between smelling gas fumes at the gas station, versus sticking your nose in the gas tank. Or, smelling someone’s perfume from 20-50 feet away instead of only close-up.
When I say “smell alteration,” I’m referring to when something smells one way, but suddenly smells like something completely different.
“Taste alteration” refers to when something that once tasted a certain way, suddenly tastes like something very or completely different, or something that once tasted wonderful now tastes horrible.
Lastly, this refers to sudden tastes in the mouth that may or may not be explainable.
My first instance for taste alteration was with a box of candy that I once enjoyed on a regular basis – Spree candy. Suddenly, one day instead of tasting super yummy they suddenly tasked like chalk – nothing but chalk.
I thought to myself, maybe it was just a bad box. But I tried other boxes, and from other stores, and had others try the candy.
It was just me. To this day I cannot eat Spree candy without the taste of chalk. I still try every now and again to see if it has passed, but it has been years and I have since given up refined sugar.
Turpentine Coffee Creamer
I’m not big on coffee, it gives me headaches, but I use to loooove my hot chocolate in the winter. I’d always pour in a little creamer in it, vanilla or hazelnut. One day, a flavor and brand I hadn’t been using long, but have used a few times before, suddenly smelt like turpentine and tasted like what I imagine turpentine would taste like. I returned the creamer, got a new one, and had others try it. It was just me.
Surprisingly, it was just this brand. Something slightly different in the ingredients that I could never quite pinpoint. The brand was International Delight. To date, I haven’t found another brand that does this, at least not as much. Coffee-mate is a pretty good alternative.
Melting Plastic Lotion
If it’s cheap lotion, like from the Dollar Tree, or Family Dollar, I can tell because it smells like burning or melting plastic. It’s a very strong smell that is almost nauseating, and quite foul. I’m not sure what it is in cheap lotions – and cheap body washes – but there it is. I always smell before I buy, for this reason, allergies, and sensitivity, and while it may smell like Vanilla or Apple to others, nope, vile melting plastic.
Almost like what you would expect to smell at an industrial plastic factory. The brand “April” found at various dollar stores seems to be one of the worst. Bath & Body Works doesn’t have this smell, but they are far to pungent for me because of their bold and strong fragrance. This is why I stick to mineral oil and coconut oil.
Maybe there was an ingredient in these products that once was barely noticeable and suddenly I became highly sensitive to? Something unique to these products? I have no clue, I just know as it stands, I can’t enjoy them.
It’s almost a moldy or rotting taste and smell, and while there may be a few foods that can cause it, even if you do brush very well, fruit, fruit juices and particularly fruit smoothies are a culprit. Recommendation: A very mild minty mouth wash to kill the bacteria causing the taste and smell. Another source of bad death breath can be dental disease, so make sure you rule that one out. I had a roommate once… and we’ll just leave it at that.
While there can certainly be more, there are only a few I am personally aware of. The first is due to sinus issues (cause: allergies, infection, etc.), and the second actually took me until recently to really ponder (due to someone raising the question – and then it happening to me the following week), and that is dehydration. Whether you’re not drinking enough water, have dry mouth (often due to medication), or are on medication like diuretic that flushes a lot of water out of you, this can be the source of that awful taste, usually when your mouth is bone dry.
The treatment? Treat the sinus issue (allergy medications or antibiotics if it’s an infection) or drink more water if you suspect that the cause is dehydration, and have something to eat to get that bad taste out of your mouth. Keeping well hydrated should prevent metal mouth, but we can’t always have a water bottle on hand.
Vitamins and other supplements can also leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth that you could re-taste a few times before you fully digest it. Those who take fish oil supplements definitely know what I’m talking about.
Infections in general in the mouth, teeth, jaw etc. can also lead to sudden taste alterations that can taste metallic.
Some of these smell alterations can be seemingly permanent, short-term, or randomly come out of the blue one day and gone the next. Sometimes you can find a solution, sometimes maybe not.
But I always advocate that you keep trying, especially if it’s a food or other product you once loved.