(HealthDay News) -- A food's flavor is produced by a combination of your senses of taste and smell. If you begin to lose the ability to distinguish foods that are sweet, salty, sour or bitter, a number of factors could be at fault.

The University of Maryland Medical Center offers these possible causes for impaired taste:

  • Getting older.
  • Having Bell's palsy.
  • Having the gum disease gingivitis.
  • Having a cold or the flu, a nasal or salivary gland infection, sinusitis or nasal polyps.
  • Being a heavy smoker.
  • Having dry mouth.
  • Having an injury to the head, nose or mouth.
  • Having pharyngitis, an inflammation of the pharynx.
  • Having a side effect of certain medications.
  • Having a vitamin deficiency.