What is bad taste in mouth?

Bad taste in mouth may indicate taste impairment. The causes of bad taste in mouth can range from altered taste to a complete loss of the sense of taste. However, a complete inability to taste is rare. Bad taste in mouth a common symptom of gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), salivary gland infection, sinusitis, poor dental hygiene, or even the result of taking certain medicines. Taste problems are caused by anything that interrupts the transfer of taste sensations to the brain or by conditions that affect 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 result 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 a possible cause, 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. Some changes may be permanent, especially if the mouth is a target of direct radiation therapy.

Bad breath in mouth can be a sign of a serious condition. Seek prompt medical care if your bad taste in 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 in mouth?

Bad taste in mouth 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 taste in mouthsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes bad taste in mouth?

Inflammation and infection of the upper respiratory tract, sinuses, mouth, and tongue can result in bad taste in your mouth. 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 taste in mouthcauses

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