The number one cause of a salty taste in the mouth is having eaten salt. However if you can’t remember consuming salt recently then this can be quite confusing and potentially unpleasant. There are many potential other causes that can lead to a salty taste in the mouth though which we will shall look at here – normally it is nothing to worry about.
Dehydration: When our body becomes very dehydrated this can result in our saliva tasting salty. Dehydration itself has many causes including alcohol consumption, diabetes and not drinking enough water. If you are very thirsty as well, and the problem is worse in the mornings, try drinking to wash away the taste and rehydrate yourself.
Blood: Blood has a salty taste and there are many reasons that you might have blood in your mouth including a bitten tongue or damaged gums. Even healthy gums sometimes bleed and this can then cause you to get a salty and also ‘metallic’ taste in your mouth. If your gums are bleeding then you will see blood in the water when you rinse and spit while brushing your teeth. Try to use a softer toothbrush and not to brush so hard, and consult a dentist if it continues.
Infected Salivary Glands: If you get an infection or a blockage in your salivary glands then this can alter the behaviour of your saliva in multiple ways and may result in your producing more or less saliva and in it tasting salty.
Tears: Additionally tears are salty tasting and sometimes these can enter the mouth through the nasal passage though it is a rare occurrence.
Medication: Many medications cause a salty taste in the mouth among their side effects and among these are chemotherapy drugs. If you suspect that your medications are causing you this taste then speak with your doctor.
Nasal Drainage: An unpleasant thought though it is, sometimes a salty taste in your mouth is nothing more than mucus which can drain into your mouth through your nasal passages. This is particularly common following a cold or flu when your body will need to expel the fluids. You will likely feel the phlegm against your tongue if this is the case. You can speed this up by blowing your nose.
Bacteria: If you have not brushed your teeth frequently enough then this can cause a build up of bacteria in your mouth which can not only cause a salty taste but will also tend to smell rather foul. This is what causes us bad breath in the morning as during sleep our mouths do not produce as much saliva in order to wash the bacteria away. Brush your teeth regularly and if the problem persists then try using a mouth wash which you can carry around with you.
Vitamin B12 or Zinc Deficiency: Both these deficiencies can result in a salty taste in your mouth and might also result in tenderness around your tongue. You can get tested for these deficiencies and you can easily replace them with supplementation.
Stroke or Brain Tumour: In some cases the salty taste will not be caused by anything in your mouth at all, but rather faulty signals in your brain. If the salty taste has no other clear cause then you should consult with your doctor and they might suggest an MRI scan to rule out that possibility.