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Everything tastes funny: Tips to Help with Taste Alterations

Does food taste differently than you expect it to taste? Sometimes, cancer therapies may result in taste alterations. These alterations may result from chemotherapy, a reduction in salivary flow or radiation therapy directly to the tongue. Here are some tips that may help combat taste alterations:

  1. Avoid using metal utensils if you have a metallic taste in your mouth, and instead use plastic utensils.

  2. Rinse your mouth frequently with a solution of 1/4 tsp of baking soda and 1/4 of salt to a glass of tepid water. Rinse your mouth with this solution prior to eating food.

  3. Avoid spending time int he kitchen while the food is being prepared

  4. Opt for breakfast foods such as eggs, cereals, pancakes, smoothies, which sometimes are better tolerated than other foods.

  5. Remember to brush your tongue in addition to your teeth at least twice daily, ideally after every meal

  6. Cold foods do not produce as many odors, and thus you may be able to taste them better.

  7. Sometimes, patients state that tart flavors such as citrus flavors and pickled foods taste better during treatment. If your mouth is sore, however, these foods may result in further irritation. Additionally, acidic foods may place you at an increased risk for getting caries (cavities). So don't forget to brush after eating these foods, and avoid snacking on acidic foods throughout the day.

  8. If food tastes overly bland, try adding spices and herbs.

  9. Hydrate hydrate hydrate. Drinking water frequently may help bathe your taste buds and enhance your sense of taste.

If you are experiencing taste alterations, you should speak to a registered dietician who can help you.

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