Everyone has a bad taste in their mouth from time to time. It usually goes away after brushing your teeth or rinsing your mouth. Sometimes, the bad taste lingers due to an underlying cause. Regardless of the cause, having a bad taste in your mouth can ruin your appetite, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies and other problems.

What is a bad taste in the mouth?

A bad taste in your mouth from time to time is normal. It is caused by eating a strong-tasting food, drinking alcohol, or experiencing oral health problems every day. However, sometimes the bad taste persists because of an underlying cause. Regardless of the cause, having a bad taste in your mouth can ruin your appetite, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies and other problems.


Poor oral hygiene

Poor oral hygiene or dental health problems like tooth decay and gum disease can contribute to a persistent bad taste. Infections, inflammation, and abscesses may also be involved.
Brush, floss, and use a mouthwash every day to prevent dental problems. Scheduling routine dental examinations and cleanings are also necessary.

Dry mouth

A dry or sticky mouth is caused by a lack of saliva. This symptom can accompany persistent bad taste and bad breath. Saliva is vital for oral health because it reduces the number of bacteria and food particles in the mouth.

  • Certain medications
  • Tobacco use
  • Old age
  • Some medical conditions, such as nerve damage and diabetes, can also cause a lack of saliva

Acid reflux

Acid reflux occurs when acid from the stomach moves up the esophagus. A bitter taste in the mouth is a common symptom of acid reflux.
Other signs include:

Oral candidiasis

An overgrowth of the Candida fungus handles this infection.
Signs include:

  • bad taste and a cottony mouthfeel
  • cracking at the corners of the mouth
  • difficulty eating or swallowing
  • irritation or pain under dentures
  • loss of taste
  • light bleeding on contact with the sores
  • redness
  • pain
  • white sores that may look like cottage cheese, most often on the tongue and inside of the cheeks

Oral yeast infection occurs in babies, older adults, people with diabetes, and people who take some antibiotics. However, anyone can get oral thrush.

Respiratory infections:

Tonsil, sinus, and middle ear infections often trigger an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth. People with respiratory infections may also have congestion, an earache, and a sore throat.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a viral infection of the liver and can cause a bitter taste in the mouth. Other signs include:

  • loss of appetite
  • bad breath
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Hepatitis B is serious, and anyone who suspects it should seek treatment immediately.

Arthritis in the spine

This can cause bone spurs that pinch on nerves.

Narrowing of the spinal cord

This can cause pressure on the spinal cord.

Thyroid problems

Thyroid disorders also raise the risk, for reasons that are not completely apparent, of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes in early pregnancy can affect the sense of taste and smell. Many report a metallic taste in the mouth, but it usually goes away as the pregnancy progresses.
Hormonal changes related to menopause can also cause Dry mouth, which is often accompanied by a bitter taste.


Medications that can cause a bitter or metallic taste in your mouth include:

  • antibiotics
  • antidepressants
  • anti-inflammatories
  • antihistamines
  • anti-seizure medications
  • heart medications
  • diabetes medications
  • medicines for gout
  • HIV protease inhibitors
  • oral contraceptives

Cancer therapies

It is understood that chemotherapy and radiation cause an unpleasant taste in the mouth. The taste is usually metallic or acid.

Neurological conditions

When nerves in the brain-damaged, the sense of taste can be impaired. Neurological conditions that can cause a bad taste in your mouth include:

A head injury can have a similar effect.


Diagnosing the cause of this symptom is critical for many reasons. A bad taste in your mouth could be an early warning sign of an unfamiliar health problem or a problem with your medicine dosage. Not only will it help you understand the best way to go, but it can also help you avoid problems like overeating salty or sweet foods to combat off-flavors.

It's a good idea to schedule a visit with a medical or dental professional for diagnosis. Although many causes of negative taste are not serious, some are. It's smart to let the pros rule them out so you can rest easy. Taste disorders may require the help of a doctor called an otolaryngologist, also known as an ear, nose, throat, head, and neck (ENT) specialist.

Diagnosis may include:

  • Examination of your ears, nose, and throat
  • Dental evaluation
  • Professionally administered taste test
  • Review of your medical and dental history


Treatment for a persistent bad taste in your mouth depends on the cause. Treatment may not be necessary, for example, if hormonal changes cause the taste. Viral infections can also go away without treatment, and the taste should go away.

When treatment is required, options include:

Medication or supplement adjustment

If a drug or supplement is responsible for the taste, a doctor may suggest an alternative or change the recommended dosage. If a cancer therapy is causing the taste, it will usually go away when the treatment ends.

Address medical conditions

Treating the underlying condition will usually end the bad taste in your mouth. If tooth decay, gum disease, or other oral health problems are causing the taste, a dentist will recommend a procedure, medication, or medicated mouthwash.

Home Remedies:

In some cases, home remedies can help resolve a bad taste in your mouth. These should use with medical or dental treatment.

Some effective home remedies include:

  • brush, floss, and use mouthwash daily
  • chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production and movement
  • drink enough water every day
  • stop using tobacco
  • limit or avoid the intake of alcohol, caffeine, and soft drinks
  • reduce the amount of sugar consumed, as it can contribute to oral yeast infection
  • avoid acid reflux triggers, such as fatty or spicy foods

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a bad taste in your mouth be serious?

It's completely normal to get a bad taste in your mouth sometimes. But if you've had a strange taste in your mouth for days, it could be a sign of an underlying dental or medical problem.

2. Can liver problems cause a bad taste in your mouth?

Although rare, kidney or liver disease can cause a metallic taste to develop in the mouth due to a build-up of chemicals in the body.

3. Can a sinus infection cause a bad taste in my mouth?

Mucus associated with a sinus infection can have a foul odor, which can cause bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.