What Does a Salty Taste in the Mouth Symptom Indicate?

A salty taste in the mouth indicates a condition called dysgeusia that has a myriad of causes, such as sinus infections, the flu, colds, gingivitis and dental abscesses, explains Simple Steps to Better Dental Health. Other causes of the condition include smoking, periodontal disease, yeast infections, migraines and nutritional deficiencies.

Dysgeusia is not life-threatening in most cases, and it is often temporary, depending on its cause, states Simple Steps to Better Dental Health. When the condition results from causes such as certain medications, gum disease, yeast infections or colds, it usually disappears once the underlying medical issue resolves, or the patient stops using the medication. If damage to the nerves responsible for taste is the cause, however, the condition may be permanent. Doctors may perform tests such as blood panels, saliva flow rate tests, MRI scans and CT scans to help determine the cause of a salty taste in the mouth. When tests and examinations reveal no discernible cause, doctors call the condition idiopathic dysgeusia.

In addition to a salty taste, dysgeusia can also manifest as a metallic, foul or rancid taste in the mouth, notes Simple Steps to Better Dental Health. Because the taste and smell receptors work in conjunction to create the sensation of taste, patients with dysgeusia may also experience changes in their senses of smell.