The Sweet Taste in the Mouth

The Sweet Taste in the Mouth: Causes and Treatment

The sweet taste in the mouth (glycogeusia) is an uncomfortable sensation that occurs frequently or permanently without a clear reason on the mouth membrane. This symptom causes concern when the diet is unhealthy, or when there are excessive restrictions on carbohydrates, or when there is a sudden cessation of smoking. The unpleasant taste is a common symptom of diabetes, gestational diabetes, digestive system diseases, and neurological disorders. The potential cause of this symptom is identified through laboratory tests, endoscopy, and ultrasound. To alleviate the sweet taste, dietary habits are corrected, and treatment directed at the cause is prescribed.

Causes of the Sweet Taste in the Mouth:

Unhealthy Diet: One of the main reasons for the appearance of a sweet taste in the mouth is the consumption of excessive amounts of food regularly, and the misuse of simple carbohydrates and fats. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which leaks into saliva and causes a sweet sensation. This uncomfortable taste is more bothersome in the evening and can be relieved by brushing teeth or using mouthwash.

Smoking Cessation: Men suffer from taste receptor dysfunction in the first months of quitting smoking, leading to a sweet taste sensation without food. This symptom is more pronounced initially and gradually improves over time. The impact of the sweet taste increases with continuous candy chewing, as smokers do during smoking cessation.

Psychological Stress: Elevated levels of adrenaline and then corticosteroids due to psychological shock lead to increased glucose levels in the blood and consequently in saliva. The patient feels this sweet taste in the mouth, which may be accompanied by thirst, dry mucous membranes, fear, anxiety, and muscle tremors. The condition is more pronounced at night and spontaneously improves or resolves after drinking large amounts of water and after the end of the stressful situation. In rare cases, the condition may persist for more than 6-8 days, indicating the development of a psychological disorder or neurological disorder.

Diabetes: The appearance of a sweet taste without a clear cause is a typical symptom of carbohydrate metabolism disorder and the onset of diabetes. Patients complain of severe mouth dryness, and the annoying sweet sensation often occurs. Additionally, this intense sweet sensation is accompanied by excessive thirst, increased appetite, and increased daily urine output. The sweet taste in the mouth, accompanied by a deterioration in overall balance and severe headache, indicates the risk of ketoacidosis development – a complication of diabetes, where toxic compounds are formed. Initially, patients feel the sweet taste, which then changes to a bitter taste, and patients sense acetone odor in the mouth. This condition is considered an indicator of the need for urgent medical care.

Pregnancy: During normal pregnancy, women often experience unusual taste experiences unrelated to food consumption. The sweet taste appears at any time of the day and is often exacerbated by taking dietary supplements and vitamins prescribed by doctors for pregnant women. When there is morning sickness, the unpleasant taste intensifies, causing increased nausea and vomiting.

Pancreas: Feeling a sweet taste in the morning or during long periods between meals is characteristic of pancreatic injury. The disorder is particularly bothersome for patients upon waking up, and the unwanted sweet sensation disappears after eating breakfast. Patients also notice frequent pains in the lower left side of the chest, nausea, and stomach heaviness. Sometimes, vomiting occurs, followed by a noticeable increase in the sweet taste in the mouth.

Digestive System Diseases: The symptom is detected in hyperacidic conditions (gastritis, gastroesophageal reflux disease), which are accompanied by increased stomach acidity and leakage of gastric contents into the esophagus and mouth. The sweet taste is more pronounced after bending the body, after intense physical activity, and after remaining in a horizontal position for long periods. The unpleasant sensation decreases after brushing teeth but does not disappear completely.

Suppurative Infections in the Mouth: Gum inflammation, oral inflammation, and deep tooth decay are accompanied by pus accumulation, which accumulates in the gaps between the teeth and gums, causing the annoying sweet taste in the mouth. The symptom is more pronounced in the morning. When oral hygiene is inadequate, the symptom appears frequently throughout the day. In addition to the taste, patients are bothered by spontaneous or meal-related tooth pain.

Nasal, Throat, and Ear Diseases: Chronic inflammatory processes in the nasal sinuses or tonsils caused by bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, streptococci, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa cause a sweet taste in the mouth. Patients suffering from chronic tonsillitis and sinusitis often notice that the unwanted taste sensation has no apparent cause and disappears after rinsing the mouth with water or eating. This symptom often develops in the morning, as purulent content flows from the nasal sinuses to the throat during nighttime sleep.

Neurological Disorders: Head and brain injuries due to poisoning involve the cranial nerve nuclei responsible for taste sensation in the pathological process. Patients lose the ability to distinguish food flavors and often feel a sweet taste in the mouth without cause. Taste disorder is accompanied by salivary secretion disorders and swallowing difficulties.

Rare Causes:

  • Chemical Poisoning: Such as poisoning with pesticides and chemicals containing phosphorus (phosgene and others).
  • Cancerous Tumors: Lung cancer and malignant tumors in the airways.
  • Chemotherapy Complications.


To identify the underlying cause of sweet taste in the mouth, it requires consultation with a gastroenterologist, who after the initial examination may refer the individual to other specialized doctors. The doctor first collects the medical history and examines the mouth carefully to look for pus formation, then proceeds to identify specific tests and diagnostic methods. Key aspects in the diagnosis include:

  1. Blood tests: Attention is paid to the glucose levels in the chemical analysis, and even in cases of mild elevation in sugar, an oral glucose tolerance test is conducted. To determine the cause of sweet taste in women, estrogen and progesterone concentrations are evaluated, along with measuring chorionic gonadotropin hormone levels. Clinical blood analysis reveals an increase in white blood cell count and an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate.
  2. Endoscopy: If the unwanted sweet taste is accompanied by issues such as heartburn and chest pain, the final examination is done through visual inspection of the upper parts of the digestive system. This method is essential for identifying inflammatory changes in the mucous membrane and disorders of the lower esophageal sphincter function. Biopsy is performed on areas showing pathological changes during endoscopy.
  3. Ultrasound: Non-homogeneous structures, areas of low density, and volumetric formations are identified during targeted ultrasound examination of the pancreas. In cases of pancreatitis, swelling and indistinct borders of the organ are detected. It is recommended to perform pelvic ultrasound for women and apply reproductive ultrasound for detailed imaging.
  4. Neurological examination: In cases of sensory disturbances and swallowing disorders, structural damage to the central nervous system must be ruled out. Standard examination includes visual and swallowing reflex assessments, muscle strength evaluation, and tension assessment. Magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography with contrast is used for brain imaging. Sometimes, electrical measurements of the brain are recommended.


Assistance before diagnosis:
First and foremost, dietary changes are necessary to alleviate discomfort; reducing the intake of sweets, white bread, and fatty foods as much as possible, while increasing consumption of protein-rich foods, fresh vegetables, and fruits. It is essential to stay adequately hydrated. To get rid of the annoying sweet taste, consuming citrus fruits or drinking water with lemon juice is recommended. Doctors advise maintaining oral hygiene: brushing teeth carefully twice a day, using dental floss or toothbrush after meals. Mouthwash or irrigation devices can be used to clean interdental spaces effectively. The sweet taste resulting from stomach pain, heartburn, nausea, or vomiting indicates the need to consult a doctor.

Preventive treatment:
The treatment strategy depends on the cause of the annoying sweet taste. Medication therapy is combined with local measures, such as rinsing the mouth with antiseptic solutions or herbal extracts, and using therapeutic toothpaste on the tooth canal area. Medication therapy for diseases accompanied by sweet tastes in the mouth may include:

  1. Insulin: Hormonal therapy has been effective in achieving glucose balance in cases of type 1 diabetes. Intensive treatment regimen using a combination of short-acting and long-acting insulin is chosen. For type 2 diabetes, oral hypoglycemic medications are taken.
  2. Enzymes: Enzyme medications have been effective in cases of functional insufficiency of the exocrine pancreas. These drugs improve digestion and facilitate the breakdown of fats and carbohydrates. These medications are taken in long courses, with a preference for preparations containing bile acids.
  3. Antacids: These drugs reduce gastric acid secretion, thus eliminating the causes of the annoying sweet taste. Proton pump inhibitors, which have few side effects and work for a long time, are often used.
  4. Antibiotics: Suppurative infections in the mouth are treated with antibiotics, either orally in the form of tablets or topically – in the form of ointments and applications on the mucous membrane. To prevent fungal infections, antifungal agents are recommended.


  • Taste disorders: a note from a gastroenterologist / German S. V. – 2011.
  • Gastroenterology: National Guide / Ivashkin V.T. — 2018.
  • Endocrinology: National guidelines / Dedova I.I., Melnichenko G.A. — 2018.