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What’s That Bitter Taste in My Mouth?

June 11, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — cascobay @ 8:16 pm
Woman sticks out tongue in disgust.

Ever notice a strange, bitter taste in your mouth that just won’t go away? A persistent alteration of taste in the mouth is called dysgeusia, and it can remain until the problem causing it is addressed. People with the condition report bitter, salty, metallic, foul, or rancid tastes, and it can interfere with enjoying food or drink or prove distracting from the activities of everyday life.

While regular oral hygiene is usually enough to control persistent bad tastes, some cases can be more serious and require professional intervention. Read on to learn more about the causes.

Causes Inside the Mouth

Saliva reduces the growth of bacteria and flushes food particles from the mouth. Without enough saliva production, bacteria grow at a faster rate. Dry mouth and poor oral hygiene can leave a bitter taste in the mouth as built-up bacteria leave greater concentrations of their metabolic byproducts behind. This can produce an unpleasant taste.

Medications and supplements can leave a bitter aftertaste as the chemicals within them diffuse into the saliva. This problem can usually be solved by snacking or drinking water.

Acid Reflux (GERD) happens when the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach allows acid or bile into the throat and mouth. The acid and enzymes can irritate the exposed tissues and result in a bitter taste or a burning sensation called heartburn. Over-the-counter antacids are usually great at resolving this.

Causes Outside the Mouth

The way the body reacts to infections can affect the perception of taste. Almost everyone can say they couldn’t properly taste food when they had a cold. In response to infection, the body releases a protein to control inflammation. This protein is thought to affect the taste buds, resulting in increased sensitivity to bitter tastes.

All senses go through the nervous system, and damage to the nerves can change the perception of taste. It is thought that some cases of burning mouth syndrome might be caused by nerve damage.

As the hormone estrogen continuously increases and recedes during pregnancy, it can alter the taste buds. Many people claim to experience bitter or metallic tastes while pregnant, which will usually cease toward the end of or after the pregnancy. Falling estrogen levels during menopause can similarly alter the perception of taste and lead to dry mouth or burning mouth syndrome.

What Can I Do About It?

If you are experiencing a persistent bitter taste in your mouth, the best way to remedy it is to address the root cause. Staying hydrated and good oral hygiene can often do wonders, but if brushing, flossing, or drinking a few glasses of water doesn’t help, you might need to seek the services of a professional.

Your dentist is well equipped to diagnose and treat the causes of a stubborn bitter taste. If you find that your mouth has an intolerable flavor that just won’t go away, it might be time to schedule an appointment.

About the Practice

Casco Bay Smiles provides a spa-like atmosphere for patients in Falmouth, ME. Led by Drs. McVety and Kieffer, the team provides the best in oral health options. If you’re concerned about an unpleasant taste that won’t go away, contact the practice online or dial (207) 517-7008.

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