I went to the doctor earlier this week to see if I could do something about treating extra-oral halitosis due to post-nasal drip. The suggested treatment which my doctor suggested was a course of Zyrtec which is a second-generation antihistamine and a product by Colgate called Savacol antiseptic mouth and throat rinse.
Mrs Rollo has reported that my breath has turned to a neutral smell but that has come at a cost - complete and utter Ageusia. To put that into regular English: I have lost 100% of my sense of taste. It is awful.
After the initial burning sensation which I experienced after the initial use, because the active ingredient is chlorhexidine gluconate which binds to the same receptors which give quinine that bitter sort of taste, with continued use that sensation went away.
According to Colgate's website:
Chlorohexidine gluconate interacts with the bacterial cell wall, inhibiting dental plaque formation. It can also help treat halitosis.¹
I feel however that the cure is worse than the ill. The bottle states that one of the side effects which can occur is "Alteration in Taste Perception"; however I think that there's a distinct difference between an alteration in taste perception as opposed to a total loss therein.
Eating food that you can not taste is not fun. Mechanically it is identical but it has effectively rendered my tongue to that of being just an eleventh finger. I can still detect things like how wet something is, or what something feels like but that is exercising the sense of touch; not taste.
Eating chocolate with no sense of taste is a deeply unpleasant experience. When all you can sense is textures, eating chocolate is like putting something hard in your mouth; which over time, gradually turns into grease. In all honesty, would could give me a bucket of Pennzoil 707L Red Wheel Bearing Grease to eat and it may as well be exactly the same.
I tried tasting wine last night, which was pointless because without a sense of taste it would have been functionally identical to water except that there was an alcohol burn afterwards. I recreated that similar effect by placing a drop of Dettol on the tip of my tongue.
The act of eating a bowl of Kellogs Nutri-Grain, which I usually enjoy because of its malty flavour, was a strangely interesting act of minor torture. It combined the absence of sensation of taste with the sense of touch. In this case it was like rubbing sandpaper across your tongue but with the feeling of wetness.
Most of the time when I'm not eating or drinking anything, there is a sort of default taste which I can only assume is due to that centre of my brain being left with nothing to do, having unused computing power and just making stuff up. I can only describe it as the taste of what I imagine Domestos flavoured bubblegum might be like; it is like a chemical that I cannot identify and feels kind of like an aftertaste of sorts except that you can't then wash it out with water.
Worst of all, my ability to taste tea and coffee is gone. I like having a nice cup of tea but thanks to my current state of Ageusia, there is no point at all because tea and coffee now taste exactly the same as water; that is to say like nothing whatsoever. The only advantage to this was that I boiled a kettle of water and felt no need to add anything to it because it wasn't like I was going to taste anything anyway.