When you make the “gross face,” it’s probably after you try a food or drink item that you aren’t a fan of. Or you might be talking to your friends, and a topic came up that you didn’t like. But what if you actually have a bitter taste in your mouth that lingers, and you aren’t sure why? This might warrant a dental visit since it could be a sign of an underlying issue. Keep reading to learn from a dentist in Canonsburg about indications it might be chronic, potential causes, and treatment options.
Could It Be a Chronic Problem?
As opposed to a random occurrence, there are a few potential signs you might have a problem that won’t just disappear. If the strange taste lingers throughout the day and it’s salty, metallic, or rancid, you should contact your dentist or physician.
If the bitter taste is so strong that it’s distracting from whatever you are doing, this is another indication something may be wrong. Especially if the taste remains after you brush your teeth, make sure you consult a health professional.
What Are the Potential Causes?
A lingering bitter taste might not necessarily be a serious issue, but there are a lot of potential causes, including:
- Acid reflux: This is likely the most common cause of a bitter taste in the mouth. Food at the bottom of your esophagus contains digestive acid and enzymes, which accounts for the bitterness.
- Pine nut syndrome: Not an allergy, this is a reaction to pine nuts that usually appears 1-3 days after eating them and can last several weeks.
- Cancer treatments: Radiation and chemotherapy can cause many things to taste metallic or bitter, including water.
- Illnesses and infections: When you have one of these, your body releases a protein that can affect the taste buds to cause increased sensitivity to bitter tastes.
- Medications and supplements: There are several common culprits here, such as tetracycline, certain heart medications, zinc, or copper.
- Dry mouth: Without proper saliva production, your sense of taste can be altered so items seem more bitter or less salty.
- Pregnancy: Estrogen can alter taste buds, and many women report a bitter or metallic taste.
- Burning mouth syndrome: Sometimes occurring with no identifiable cause, this mainly affects older adults. One symptom is a feeling of dry mouth with a bitter or metallic taste.
Obviously, this will depend on what’s causing the bitter taste. Your doctor will review your symptoms, medical history, medications you take, and conduct a physical exam. They may order lab work.
If it’s acid reflux, you may get over-the-counter or prescription antacids. If certain medications are the cause, your doctor may prescribe something different. You may be referred to a dentist if the doctor suspects it’s linked to a dental issue or an endocrinologist if it’s associated with a disease.
Home remedies include drinking plenty of fluids and chewing sugar-free gum, practicing good oral hygiene, making changes to reduce the risk of acid reflux, or asking your doctor to switch your medications if you suspect one in particular to be the culprit.
Having a lingering bitter taste in your mouth is a fairly common problem, and most causes are treatable. The smart move is to inform your doctor so they can help you determine the cause and respond accordingly.
About the Author
Dr. Raj Vekariya graduated from dental school in India. After working as a dentist for three years, he moved to the U.S., attained his dental doctorate from New York University, and completed his Certificate program in Esthetic and Comprehensive Dentistry. If you have a bitter taste in your mouth you suspect might be a dental issue, you should contact Dr. Vekariya or otherwise tell your physician about it. For any dental matters, you can schedule an appointment on his website or call (724) 300-3700.