Having a perfume taste in your mouth might be an awkward annoyance, but it may or may not be a matter of great concern.
A perfume taste in the mouth might simply be due to an overspray of perfume. But there might be times when a medical condition can alter taste buds as well, causing weird tastes, like perfume, in your mouth.
11 Causes of a Perfume Taste In Your Mouth
Your sense of smell and taste buds work closely together to help you identify flavors and sensations around you. This ability can enhance your life experience.
When these bodily systems don’t work in concert for any reason, it might be time to visit a physician. First, let’s look at the causes of a perfume taste in the mouth.
1. Misaiming Your Perfume
One of the easiest ways to taste perfume in the mouth is by mistake. Have you ever been getting dressed rather quickly, making a lot of missteps along the way?
You might find that you don’t rub lotion in enough for your skin to fully absorb it. Or your hair just isn’t quite dry enough, but you have to start ironing your clothes, so you end up with cold, wet shoulders as you rush through your morning.
When you multitask it’s rare to carry out one task well. This applies to spraying on perfume as well. You might spritz the atomizer towards your neck or torso area, only to bend over while moving on to the next task before the perfume particles fully land on your body.
As you bend over, those particles land on your mouth instead. You can almost immediately feel the alcohol drying up your lips but the taste is horrendous.
The Fix: Try to slow down long enough to try one of these methods for removing perfume from your skin.
2. The Walk-Through Fragrance Application Method
Somewhat similar to the last point, there’s another way that you can mistakenly get perfume on your lips when applying it in the morning. In this example, multitasking isn’t the culprit.
Spraying perfume onto your skin is the best way to experience your fragrance unfold throughout the day. But some people prefer to apply perfume to their clothes instead.
One way that they do this is by spraying the perfume into the air, and then walking through the mist.
If you want a light scent throughout the day, then this is a pretty good method. But I’ve done it before and ended up with fragrance on my face and mouth. This was not a good feeling because it caused irritation and, you guessed it, I could taste the perfume on my lips.
The Fix: If you prefer to perfume yourself by walking through a mist instead of spraying it on your skin, then spray the perfume at a downward angle. This way your torso and lower body will come in contact with the fragrance, avoiding contact with your face.
3. Exposure Sensitivity
According to Science World, “our sense of smell is responsible for about 80% of what we taste.” Some people are more sensitive to smells than others.
Spraying on an excessive amount of perfume can lead you to feel as though you’re actually tasting the perfume.
Your taste and smell receptors are interlinked. The smell and taste center is located in the middle of your brain in an area called the temporal lobe.
When your smell receptors detect a fragrance, it travels to your temporal lobe, and then affects your taste signals, since all of the pathways are interconnected.
The Fix: Whether you intentionally or unintentionally sprayed on too much perfume, better monitor the number of sprays by limiting it to two or three pumps. If you spray your neck area, lift your head up first in order to reduce the amount of perfume that you inhale.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, dysgeusia is a taste disorder that alters your sense of taste.
If you have this condition, you might find that you no longer like foods you once enjoyed, or that you can now tolerate foods that you once couldn’t. Your ability to recognize how certain foods taste might be limited to the very basic – sweet, bitter, sour, or metallic.
But an interesting point is that you don’t even have to be eating anything in order to get a bad taste in your mouth. It’s possible to have a weird metallic or perfumy taste in your mouth at any given moment of the day.
We’ve gone over a couple of symptoms, but here’s the full list:
- You dislike foods you once liked, and they may even taste rotten to you.
- You’re unable to detect sweet or salty foods
- You experience food as bitter or metallic
- You haven’t eaten but there’s still a bad taste in your mouth
This condition can be caused by a number of things ranging from loss of a sense of smell to nerve damage to mineral deficiencies to Alzheimer’s disease, and a number of conditions in between.
In most cases, there are treatments that can restore all or most of your sense of taste.
Potential Fix: You would have to receive a medical diagnosis in order to be treated for this condition. If you experience the symptoms for a number of weeks, then schedule an appointment with your medical provider for potential testing.
5. Prescription Side Effects
Medications can be beneficial for treating a multitude of medical conditions. But as helpful as they can potentially be, there are also a number of potential side effects that exist as well.
People respond differently to medications. And there are certain drug categories that are known for causing taste distortion:
- Arthritis medication
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Diabetes medication
- Psychotropic medication
- Seizure medications
- Thyroid medication
These prescriptions can cause metallic, bitter, or sour tastes in the mouth – similar to that of perfume.
Potential Fix: If you are taking prescription medications and have a persistent perfume taste in your mouth, then you might want to contact your prescribing doctor to discuss the matter.
6. Poor Oral Hygiene
Conditions like gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums, can develop due to lack of dental hygiene. If you aren’t brushing and flossing regularly, as well as having periodic dental check-ups, you can be at risk for a host of dental disorders.
One such result would be the metallic or perfumy taste in your mouth. This gross taste in your mouth can be caused by bleeding gums. When this happens, you’re tasting the iron from the blood that’s in your mouth.
Other dental conditions like halitosis can cause dryness, which can also cause a bad taste in your mouth.
If you’ve recently undergone dental surgery or experienced an injury to your mouth, either of these events can also contribute to a perfumy taste in your mouth. Most severely, oral cancer is another contributing factor for dryness, and bad tastes in the mouth.
Potential Fix: If you’re faced with any of these hygienic challenges, or if you’ve had surgery or an injury and you’ve noticed a persistent perfume taste in your mouth, it would be best to reach out to a dentist to discuss possible treatment.
7. Ear, Nose, or Throat Problems
Since the ear, nose, and throat passageways are all interconnected, having a problem in one area can have an impact on the other two areas.
Seasonal allergies can alter your sense of taste if your sinuses are inflamed or otherwise not functioning properly. Unfortunately, taking allergy medication can also leave a bad taste in your mouth.
An ear infection or upper respiratory condition like a sinus infection or even the common cold can also impair or alter your taste buds, leaving behind a bad taste like that of perfume.
The Fix: As you treat these conditions under your doctor’s supervision, and your condition improves, then your taste buds should be restored in the process. So in this case, you have to wait a few days to heal in order to no longer experience the perfume taste.
8. Pregnancy or Menopause
Women’s hormones change drastically when they are either pregnant or at the start of menopause.
Pregnancy can cause women to desire the weirdest combination of foods – like pickles and ice cream or tuna fish and chocolate milk. You’re also more sensitive to smell. With so many changes going on inside a woman’s body during pregnancy, it’s easy to understand why you might experience weird tastes in your mouth.
Fortunately, a pregnant woman might only experience a bad taste in her mouth during the first trimester, so the symptoms should fade over as you progress through your pregnancy.
Similarly, in terms of menopause, hormonal shifts can impact a woman in a multitude of ways – sleep disturbance, changes in body temperature, mood shifts – and so forth. Having a perfume taste in the mouth is just one of many symptoms.
The Fix: Since any person who is either pregnant or going through menopause will have their own unique experiece throughout the process, it’s best to contact your physician to inquire about ways to navigate these changes.
9. High or Low Blood Sugar Levels
Earlier I listed diabetes medication as one prescription category that can lead to bad tastes in your mouth.
More specifically, having diabetes or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can also impact your mouth – causing you to experience dry mouth and bitter or perfume tastes. Sweet and metallic tastes have also been reported.
Potential Fix: In the case of diabetes, either your condition or your medication can be causing the problem. But whether you have high or low blood sugar, contact your physician to discuss possible remedies.
10. Brain Injury or Stroke
Since your brain processes smell and taste receptors, any damage to it can prevent you from being able to adequately taste or smell anything.
Signals might cross, causing a change in how you detect scents and flavors. Metallic, perfumy, and soapy tastes have been reported.
The Fix: There are various types of traumatic brain injuries and strokes. The experience and recovery process varies from person to person as well. Therefore, if the taste of perfume in your mouth is persistent, contact a medical professional for treatment.
11. Mental Health Conditions
Stress, depression, and anxiety can take a physical toll on your body. Achiness, sleep disturbance, digestive disorders and respiratory illness are some examples.
As previously stated, any respiratory condition can distort taste buds. Additionally, high stress levels can trigger excessive release of hormones, like cortisol. Research suggests that this can lead to oral dryness and reduced salivary flow which in turn can cause bad tastes to form in the mouth.
Eating disorders – which are also considered psychiatric conditions according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) – can also impact a person mentally and physically. A person with an eating disorder can believe that they have a soapy or perfume taste in their mouth and then the taste intensifies on a thought alone.
Unfortunately, psychotropic medications can also contribute to dry mouth and undesirable tastes like soap and perfume.
Potential Fix: Mental health care is a sensitive topic that deserves more attention. Beyond a healthy diet, regular exercise, and proper hydration, it’s best to consult with a mental health professional in order to navigate these symptoms.
Developing a weird taste in your mouth can be a common occurrence or the sign of a serious medical condition. Hopefully this list can help you narrow down the potential cause of a perfume taste in your mouth as well as address the concerns, if applicable.
If perfume makes contact with your mouth, then be sure to read this article on how to remove it from your skin using household items.
Otherwise, it’s best to contact a medical professional if the perfume taste in your mouth is persistent. Allow your doctor to investigate other reasons why you might be experiencing this taste.
Be sure to share this article with someone who could benefit from it!