Perceived Taste Disturbance in Adults: Prevalence and Association With Oral and Psychological Factors and Medication

Clin Oral Investig. 2002 Sep;6(3):145-9. doi: 10.1007/s00784-002-0169-0. Epub 2002 Aug 16.


Taste disturbance may cause subjective discomfort and impair appetite and food intake. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of perceived taste disturbance and analyze its association to age, gender, whole salivary flow rate, subjective oral dryness, burning mouth, medication, and psychological factors. Five hundred forty-seven men and 656 women aged 20 to 69 years were randomly selected from the Public Dental Health Service register in northern Sweden. Oral complaints were registered and whole salivary flow rate measured. Medication, anxiety, depression, and stress were assessed. Thirty individuals (2.5%), five men (0.9%) and 25 women (3.8%), reported perceived taste disturbances (distorted taste or loss of taste). In men, no individual with taste disturbance was found in the youngest and oldest age groups. The prevalence in the 30-39-year age group was 1.9% and in the 40-49-year group 1.8%. In women, one individual (1%) with taste disturbance was found in the youngest age group. In the 30-39-year group, the prevalence was 3.8%, increasing to 5.1% in the oldest age group. Illness, subjective oral dryness, state anxiety, perceived stress, depression, use of antiasthmatics, and trait anxiety were associated with taste disturbance. It was concluded that perceived taste disturbance might be an interaction of various health factors such as illness and mental condition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / adverse effects
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Burning Mouth Syndrome / complications
  • Depression / psychology
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Diseases / complications
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Secretory Rate / physiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Sweden
  • Taste Disorders / chemically induced
  • Taste Disorders / etiology*
  • Taste Disorders / psychology
  • Xerostomia / complications


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents