Saturday, June 11, 2016

Metal Mouth

Throughout much of Chapter 5 of See What I'm Saying, I found myself reciting mini "thank you" prayers that I have no food restrictions. My taste buds work wonderfully, and I have no food allergies that I'm aware of. Having a little sister and a nephew with severe peanut allergies has taught me exactly how not-fun food limitations can be. While I've always been pretty thankful that I do not have food allergies or intolerances, I'd never truly contemplated life with any sort of taste loss. For a foodie like myself (and someone that works for the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association), I cannot imagine how different my life would be without the ability to enjoy flavors.

While conditions in which total taste loss may not be as common, I couldn't help but think of one specific group of people that suffer from taste impairment more than perhaps any others: chemo recipients. Those going through chemotherapy often report "metal mouth" or something similar, in which the chemicals being utilized to facilitate treatment damage one's tasting abilities. This causes many to become repulsed by their favorite foods. Some even have difficulty consuming water because of the strong metal taste. Although I found a few websites for support and suggestions in making this process a little easier (see one example in the link below), I was unable to find any real solutions. Most sites include things like "stop eating your favorite foods, so that you don't ruin them for yourself in the long run." Our book made me wonder if there is a better solution; perhaps a solution exists related to smell. If smell is so strongly tied to food flavor, I wonder if there have been any studies done on the effect this can have on metal mouth. I was unable to find any data on this topic, and if anyone has any information, I'd love for you to share!

Combating "chemo mouth"

1 comment:

  1. Hi Aubri,

    I found your submission very interesting! Reading Chapter 5, I too found myself thinking about those who have lost their taste, and those going through chemo came to mind as well. I am involved in a service group, which works closely with pediatric cancer patients, and many suffer from taste loss. I had not really realized before how important the sense of taste really is. I am also a foodie! When I’m feeling upset or stressed out I am always drawn towards my favorite foods to comfort me. Lacking this ability I see many cancer patients struggle with this. Many kids come out of chemo and look for ice cream or their moms cookies to help them feel better but find that like you said, they are repulsed. Not having these comfort foods to fall back on damages the spirits of many patients and I too have begun to look into tips and tricks for combating this, I’ll let you know what I find!