Indian Journal of Ophthalmology

: 2021  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 36-

Gustatory dysfunction in depression

Christine Raouf George Mikhail 
 Lecturer of Oral Medicine and Diagnosis, Department of Oral Medicine, Diagnosis and Periodontology, Faculty of Dentistry, Fayoum University, Fayoum; PhD Oral Medicine, Faculty of Dentistry, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Christine Raouf George Mikhail
Lecturer of Oral Medicine and Diagnosis, Department of Oral Medicine, Diagnosis and Periodontology, Faculty of Dentistry, Fayoum University, Fayoum; PhD Oral Medicine, Faculty of Dentistry, Cairo University, Cairo

How to cite this article:
Mikhail CR. Gustatory dysfunction in depression.Saint Int Dent J 2021;5:36-36

How to cite this URL:
Mikhail CR. Gustatory dysfunction in depression. Saint Int Dent J [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 16 ];5:36-36
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The relationship between taste, consumption behavior, and long-term health outcomes is complex; nevertheless, it is quite known that the ability to perceive taste sensations has a great influence on food choice. Therefore, the effects mentioned earlier, can have long-term health implications. Therefore, it should be noted that oral health is part of the remainder of the body as oral health impacts general health by altering what people eat, their speech, and quality of life and even resulting in considerable pain. Patients with psychological problems are more susceptible to oral or dental issues than others, owing to their dental fear, self-negligence, no accessible oral health services, and various side effects of prescribed medications in psychiatry. Moreover, it should be noted that these diseases are relatively common with quite one in three people in most countries reporting sufficient criteria for a minimum of one diagnosis at some point in their life, and the actual lifetime prevalence rate ranges between 65% and 85%, in which 74% of adults have their daily performances affected due to oral health.

The relationship between mood disorders and taste changes has been known for several years, whereas taste changes are still considered a minor symptom of depression. Moreover, gustatory dysfunction has not been recognized as a pathophysiological symptom. Few studies have been done on the mechanisms through which it can be understood that taste function can alter affective disorders like depression. Although antidepressants, particularly first-generation tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and later developed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are mentioned clinically to cause chemosensory complaints, few experimental studies exist that are essential to quantify potential taste changes. Moreover, a gustatory dysfunction is considered as an incidental finding because patients generally do not complain, it is only noticed in discussions on condiments of food or salt intake. Recently, gustatory dysfunction has been found to be mostly associated with TCAs followed by SSRIs, particularly for sweet taste thresholds. Hypogeusia for sweet has been more common among TCAs than SSRIs. Therefore, more attention has to be given to taste changes among these patients. Proper knowledge and appraisal of this issue will enhance the quality-of-life depressed patients and avoid unnecessary dental treatment.

A gustatory dysfunction's prognosis and its management are often difficult to work out because they require identifying the cause, which depends on the patient's history, and many patients are unaware of their taste changes onset. It should be taking into consideration that before gustatory function assessment for any possible causes, intra-oral causes should be first excluded, including metallic taste resulting from dental material such as amalgam, which could be easily managed by replacing the offending material. Second, imaging studies, including magnetic resonance imaging and computerized tomography, could be carried out to detect any possible structural changes or intra-cranial causes and to assess the central nerves, with the probability of negative or uncertain results. Therefore, the diagnosis of a gustatory dysfunction must be supported with a thorough medical history, the patient's subjective reporting, and psychophysical testing. Moreover, oral health care providers should be aware of the possible causes of gustatory dysfunction to be capable of proceeding with effective management without an unnecessary dental treatment plan.