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.
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).
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- Taste - impaired. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003050.htm. Accessed April 21, 2011.
- Salivary gland disorders. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/salivaryglanddisorders.html. Accessed April 21, 2011.