We all deal with a bitter or bad taste in our mouth from time to time, especially after eating garlic, or pungent or sour foods. However, when the taste lasts for a long time or happens unexpectedly, it can be concerning. Our sense of taste is complex; it can be affected by many factors, including poor dental hygiene, dry mouth or pregnancy. Treating a persistent bitter taste should be approached like treating any underlying condition, especially if it lasts for more than one week.
An altered taste in the mouth, medically known as dysgeusia, can be described as unpleasant and can last for a long time until the underlying cause is treated. People with dysgeusia may experience a constant taste that they often describe as one of the following:
- rancid or foul
The taste can be distracting, and may even make it hard to taste other things while eating or drinking. A person may still have that taste even after brushing their teeth. They may also experience other symptoms depending on the cause. The following conditions could be the cause:
Dry mouth – also known as xerostomia, happens when the mouth is not producing enough saliva. Saliva helps reduce bacteria in the mouth. Having less saliva means more bacteria can survive and could be the result of a variety of factors. People with a persistently dry mouth should talk to a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
GERD or acid reflux – Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux can be another source of a bitter taste. These conditions occur when the sphincter at the top of the stomach is week, and allows acid or bile to rise up into the esophagus. This tends to irritate the food pipe, and can cause burning in the chest or stomach while bringing about a foul or bitter taste in the mouth.
Pregnancy – It is common that in the first trimester for some women to experience a bitter taste because the hormones in the body fluctuate during pregnancy. This change can cause heightened senses, making some pregnant women notice a metallic, bitter or tinny taste in their mouth. This usually goes away later in the pregnancy or after giving birth.
Oral thrush – is a yeast infection in the mouth and causes white spots or blotches that appear on the mouth, tongue or throat. It may also cause a bitter or unpleasant taste in the mouth that will last until the infection is treated.
These are only a few of the causes of that long-lasting bitter taste. At the end of the day, if the bitter taste lasts longer than a week, you should consult your dentist to identify the underlying cause and treat that.
Source: Jonathan Richter, DDS, FAGD, of Cariodontal (310 E. Shore Rd., Ste. 101, Great Neck). For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 516-282-0310 or visit Cariodontal.com.