Ageusia is a disorder in which the tongue loses its sense of detecting different tastes, such as sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.

Ageusia can affect people of all ages but is particularly common in people over 50.

The recent coronavirus pandemic has also listed loss of taste in some patients who tested positive for COVID-19.

When symptoms of ageusia are recognized, prompt medical treatment is needed to ensure a full recovery.

Various factors can cause ageusia, and a dry mouth is the most common cause. Smoking (especially pipe smoking), allergies, and certain medications, including certain antibiotics, blood pressure medications, antihistamines, and antidepressants, can all contribute to iritis.

The causes of ageusia

Many infections can affect the taste, such as:

  • common cold;
  • flu;
  • sinus infections;
  • Infections of the throat, including angina and pharyngitis.
  • Salivary gland infections.

Other causes of altered taste include:

  • cigarette smoking;
  • inflammation of the gums, such as gingivitis or periodontal disease ;
  • medications, including lithium, thyroid medications, and cancer treatments;
  • Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes dry mouth and dry eyes;
  • head or ear injuries;
  • nutritional deficiencies, especially vitamin B-12  and zinc.


Common symptoms of ageusia are:

  • Distinguishing the taste of food is difficult.
  • High blood pressure;
  • The underlying signs of diabetes
  • Teeth, gum, and tongue problems;
  • Allergies and nasal congestion. 

Diagnosis and treatment

An otolaryngologist can diagnose taste and smell disorders, which can determine the extent of the taste disorder. It is possible to compare the tastes of different substances or note how the intensity of a flavor increases with the concentration of food.

Treating the underlying condition causing the taste alteration can help restore taste. Bacterial sinusitis, salivary glands, and throat infections can be treated with antibiotics.

Symptoms of colds, flu, and allergic rhinitis that impact taste can be relieved with decongestants or antihistamines. When the symptoms subside, your sense of taste will likely return.

The doctor may prescribe medications to minimize the effects of a nervous system disorder or autoimmune disease that causes taste disturbance.

More often than not, lifestyle changes are all one needs to improve the sense of taste. Stopping the consumption of cigarettes or other substances can make it possible to taste food thoroughly, and Ex-smokers begin to regain their sense of taste quickly.

Good dental hygiene can also reverse ageusia.

Brushing and flossing can remove plaque from the mouth, protect teeth from disease and cavities, and help fight ageusia.

Anosmia, ageusia and COVID-19

Anosmia and ageusia are the first symptoms in patients with COVID-19, especially if the patient has very few symptoms. A study published in 2021 aimed to determine the profile demographics of patients with anosmia, the prevalence of anosmia, and the time to recovery in COVID-19-positive patients treated in hospitals. 

Of the study population of 1000 patients, 742 had a smell disorder of some form. There was a correlation between disease severity and smoking history. The prevalence of smell disorders in COVID-19 patients in this study was 74.2%, while most smokers had the moderate disease. The average resolution time for olfactory disorders was ten days. 

In conclusion, anosmia and ageusia may be the only symptoms in patients with COVID-19. They are completely reversible and can be used as early predictors of infection.