That Awful Taste In Your Mouth

We’ve all been there, whether it be after a meal or just a cup of coffee…you have a lingering bad taste in your mouth. In the perfect situation you would be able to immediately brush your teeth. Unfortunately, we are cognizant that sometimes it is just about impossible to do that. 


Or, how about those times that—for no apparent reason you have weird taste in your mouth that comes and goes? Is this something you should be worried about, or could it be a sign of a larger health issue? 


We will demystify the taste buds and hope to bring clarity on the root cause of the what you are tasting in your mouth as well as offer solutions to this problem. 

 What’s that awful taste in your mouth?

Why am I tasting this? 


Our taste buds are actually clusters of bulbous nerve endings on the tongue and in the lining of the mouth that provide the sense of the taste. Just like we can taste delicious things like your mom’s chocolate cake, they also can serve as a source of discomfort when you experience lingering, bad tastes. 


Many of our patients describe the bad taste they experience as metallic or like they were sucking on a bunch of used coins. In many instances, this taste has hung around for days or even weeks. If this is the case, it is important that you give us a call since this can be a symptom of something more serious than just coffee breath.  


How is it diagnosed? 


If you have decided to come into the office to have this checked out, then you have taken the first important step. Too many times patients pop mints or gum to mask the issue instead of determining the actual cause. At your appointment your dentist will ask you basic health questions about what medications you are on and also take a look inside your mouth.  


Tooth decay and other periodontal diseases—such as gum diseases—are commonly the source of this unshakable bad taste. Infections in the gum line are usually the cause. Once that problem is remedied, most patients experience relief from the initial symptoms.  


Halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath, can also lead to bad tastes in the mouth. Traditionally halitosis is a result of poor oral hygiene. Food particles that are not properly removed from between the teeth and gum line cause a rotten taste to settle in your mouth. The first defense against this is good oral health.  


Could this be a result of something else? 


If you dentist gives you a clean bill of oral health, but the taste remains, then it is important to examine other factors. First, take a look at what medications you are taking. Many commonly-prescribed medications for conditions such depression or thyroid-issues can leave a metallic taste in your mouth. If the taste ever reaches the level where it is unbearable, talk to your doctor to see if there are other options available. 


Nasal problems such as recurrent sinus infections or allergies that cause severe postnasal drip also can lead to a bad taste in your mouth. The bacterial remains from the postnasal drip have an unpleasant taste. When they naturally drain into your throat you can taste it.  


Finally, acid reflux or other gastrointestinal issues that send acid back up into your esophagus and mouth can lead to problems. If you are suffering from this, it is likely your dentist has identified it due to the erosion of enamel due to acids. It is important you seek treatment to both get rid of the bad taste in your mouth, but also to protect your teeth from damage. 


What can I do? 


If you are desperate to get rid of the taste, there are many ways to cover it up. From mints to gum or teeth brushing with mouthwash, there are numerous options to choose from. However, masking the taste is only a temporary solution. It is important to figure out the underlying issue and treat it. Addressing the cause assures you are also addressing any other lingering health issues that could be at play. If you are concerned about an ongoing bad taste in your mouth, give us a call today!

Also published on Medium.

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