What Are the Health Implications of False Taste Perception?


A man in a blue shirt avoiding food.

Living with false taste disorder is more than a quality of life issue. An impaired sense of taste can lead to weight loss and weakened immunity. Taste disorders are not uncommon. Each year, around 200,000 patients describe having the disorder to their physician, according to the National Institutes of Health. If you believe you have an impaired sense of taste, our esteemed team of doctors can diagnose and treat the condition. Chesapeake Ear, Nose & Throat proudly serves Baltimore, Owings Mills, and Westminster, MD. Our practice has served the Maryland community for more than 25 years.

Causes and Symptoms of False Taste Perception

Our sense of taste results from the interaction between food molecules and special sensory cells that are found in our mouth and throat. These cells send messages to the brain where the information is processed and the taste is perceived. These sensory cells are commonly referred to as taste buds, and the average person is born with between 2,000 and 10,000.

Taste buds regenerate throughout early adulthood. By age 50, though, these cells can begin to become less effective and less able to regenerate. This is one reason why false taste perception disproportionately affects individuals over the age of 50. Smell is an important sense that allows our brains to discern various tastes. Individuals who suffer from sinusitis and other sinus-related ailments are far more likely to experience a taste disorder.

False taste perception may also result from:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Dental problems
  • Middle ear infections
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Radiation therapy for cancer
  • Exposure to certain chemicals (medications, insecticides, and antibiotics)
  • Trauma to the head
  • Post-surgical complications
  • Heavy smoking

During your visit to our Baltimore Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) medical practice, one of our doctors will conduct a thorough examination of your mouth and surrounding structures to determine the cause of your false taste perception. Before your visit, it is recommended that you write down all symptoms related to your impaired taste to help the doctors make an accurate diagnosis before recommending treatment.

Health Consequences

False taste perception can lead to serious health risks. Many of us take our sense of taste for granted. A functioning palate allows us to discern the quality of foods, which can aid in maintaining proper nutrition. Our sense of taste also aids in maintaining a healthy appetite. Individuals who suffer from false taste perception are less able to detect spoiled foods or the presence of potential allergens they should avoid.

If you have experienced an impaired sense of taste, the condition can be treated. Our ENT doctors are uniquely suited to diagnose and treat false taste perception.

Impaired taste can also be a serious risk factor for individuals who are required to follow a strict diet as a means of maintaining chronic conditions such as diabetes. Another health risk involves weight loss. Individuals who cannot taste food are more likely to lose their appetite. A loss of taste can even lead to depression.

What Are My Treatment Options?

The first step in treating your false taste perception is to gain an accurate diagnosis by a qualified ENT doctor. After one of our Baltimore physicians assesses your condition, he or she may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Adjustment to your medication prescription
  • Addressing an ongoing respiratory infection
  • Treating your sinusitis
  • Allergy treatment
  • Improving oral hygiene habits

Contact Chesapeake Ear, Nose & Throat Today 

An individual’s sense of taste involves the proper functioning of the mouth, throat, and nose. This is why ENT doctors are uniquely suited to diagnose and treat false taste perception. If you have experienced an impaired sense of taste, the condition can be treated once you begin working with one of our qualified doctors. To schedule your appointment, contact our office online or call (410) 356-2626.