Bad Taste in Mouth

Bad tastes in the mouth may be a taste without the normal sensory patterns such as salty or sweet. In most cases, cleaning the mouth will alleviate these symptoms, but further examination may be necessary for potential medical conditions.

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There are thousands of taste buds throughout the mouth, prominently on the tongue so it's easy to detect any taste that may linger in the mouth, especially if it is unpleasant. In some cases bad taste in mouth is an easy fix that can easily be removed, but in some cases a bad taste in the mouth can be a sign of a medical condition which may need to be addressed. However, there are some simple practices that can be used to relieve or even get rid of the problem.

Causes of Bad Taste in Mouth

When a person is experiencing bad taste in mouth, it may due to following causes:

1. Medication

Some medications can cause the patient to develop a metallic taste which can be unpleasant. This is a common issue with anti-depressants, neurological medication and anti-thyroid medicines, especially if the prescription contains a great deal of zinc. The severity of this side effect will vary from person to person.

2. Pregnancy

Women experiencing the first trimester of pregnancy tend to develop a bitter taste in the mouth. In some cases this can be so severe that drinking water can bring on this bitterness. This is due to the skyrocketing levels of estrogen in the system, but it can also be caused by hormone pills or prenatal vitamins that are prescribed during this time. Increased nausea during this time can also lead to a lingering bad taste in the mouth, though in this case the side effects are temporary.

3. Acid reflux

Acid reflux can cause a similar bitter taste in the mouth due to the stomach acid which is seeping into the throat. This has been described as an acidic or bitter taste. Overeating, changing your eating patterns or eating foods which are difficult to digest including spicy foods can contribute to this problem.

4. Dental problems

Tooth decay and other dental problems can cause a bad taste in the mouth. Gum infections may also contribute to this issue. If these issues are causing dental fillings to come loose, a metallic taste may be present in the mouth. Otherwise the taste may contain more sour notes. Oral viruses can also affect the taste buds on the tongue, causing them to sense unpleasant notes. Ulcers or fungus in the mouth can contribute to this problem as well.

5. Halitosis

Halitosis or bad breath can also lead to a bad taste in the mouth. A diet that is excessively rich in protein can lead to excessive amounts of sulfur in the mouth which can increase the levels of bacteria in the mouth. This can result in a rotten taste. Food particles stuck between the teeth can also increase the amounts of bacteria in the mouth as these particles break down, which may also contribute to this rotten taste.

6. Nasal problems

Nasal problems such as infections, polyps, sinusitis, or runny nose due to a cold or allergies can cause a bad taste in the mouth. Bacterial or viral remnants in the postnasal drip can get into the throat and taste unpleasant.

7. Bad habits

Some habits such as smoking or poor diet can also lead to a bad taste in the mouth. A lack of vitamin B12 is an especially common cause of altered tastes in the mouth. This can cause some tastes to be amplified to the point where they are unpleasant.

How to Get Rid of Bad Taste in Mouth

Treating bad taste in mouth depends on the exact cause behind it. After understanding its real cause, you can then take some steps to eliminate it. Here are some tips for you.

1. Cleaning the mouth

Cleaning the mouth is key to removing a bad taste that has developed in the mouth.

  • Brush the teeth thoroughly to help remove debris and bacteria that can be contributing to the bad taste in your mouth.
  • You will also want to brush the tongue to help remove the mucosal covering that may have collected bacteria, yeast or food that can cause a poor taste over time.
  • Make sure you brush your tongue gently, or purchase a tool such as a tongue scraper that is specifically intended to help clean the tongue to avoid doing damage.
  • Scratching the tongue can make a bad taste in the mouth worse or cause additional injury.

2. Removing particles between teeth

In addition to brushing the teeth, you need to make sure that any particles lingering between the teeth are removed to help eliminate a bad taste that is lingering.

  • Floss your teeth carefully to help remove particles that your toothbrush cannot reach.
  • If the bad taste in your mouth is particularly foul or has been lingering for some time, use a sponge floss that has been soaked in mouth wash or baking soda diluted in water to increase the efficiency of the floss.
  • You may also want to follow up this treatment by rinsing with mouth wash or a baking soda rinse. Combine one teaspoon of baking soda with 8 ounces of water and gently swish the solution around your mouth.

When to See a Doctor

  • If the bad taste in your mouth that is accompanied by other symptoms such as sore teeth, sores in the mouth, ulcers, stomach problems or any other growths in the mouth you should see a physician to ensure that there is no more serious causes to the bad taste you are experiencing.
  • If you have recently started a new medication that may be contributing to your bad breath you should also see your doctor to determine if a change in your prescription can alleviate your discomfort.

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