What is bad taste?

Bad taste, also known as dysgeusia, is a common symptom of gastrointestinal reflux disease, salivary gland infection (parotitis), sinusitis, poor dental hygiene, and can even be the result of taking certain medicines. Taste problems can also be the result of an interrupted transfer of taste sensations to the brain or a dysfunction of the way the brain interprets these sensations.

Mouth Problems Spotlight

Heartburn, or gastric reflux, is a common cause of bad taste. Stomach acid regurgitated into the mouth produces a bad taste described as an acid or metallic taste. An infection of one of the major salivary glands is also a common cause of bad taste. Similarly, poor dental hygiene causes bacterial growth in the mouth that could results in a bad taste. Another possibility is a viral infection that may damage the tongue’s sensory cells and result in changes to the sense of taste. Other mouth or tongue disorders, including mouth ulcers, are possible causes as well.

Bad taste may also result from radiation therapy and medicines, such as antibiotics and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Taste problems may take months or even years to resolve, and some changes may be permanent, especially if the mouth is a target of direct radiation therapy.

Bad taste in your mouth can be a sign of a serious condition. Seek prompt medical care if the bad taste in your mouth is persistent or causes you concern. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you experience difficulty breathing or high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit).

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with bad taste?

Bad taste may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the digestive tract may also involve other body systems.... Read more about bad tastesymptoms

CAUSES

What causes bad taste?

Inflammation and infection of the upper respiratory tract, sinuses, mouth, and tongue can result in bad taste. Symptoms may arise from inflammatory conditions, infections, or diseases that affect the taste buds of the tongue responsible for the sensation of taste. Gastrointestinal reflux disease has a similar affect on the surface the tongue, which may be damaged by gastric acid and bile.... Read more about bad tastecauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Mouth, Teeth and Oral Health