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7 Possible Causes Of Bitter Taste In Mouth

A bitter taste in your mouth can have various causes, ranging from simple problems such as poor oral hygiene or use of some medications to more serious problems such as yeast infection or reflux, for example.

In addition, cigarette smoking can also give your mouth a bitter taste that lasts from a few minutes to a few hours. This type of taste change usually improves after eating other foods, drinking water, or brushing your teeth.

However, if the bitter taste persists for a long time or if it occurs very often, it is recommended to consult a general practitioner or gastroenterologist to identify if there is any disease that may be causing the symptom and to initiate appropriate treatment.

7 Possible Causes Of Bitter Taste In Mouth

1. Bad oral hygiene

This is the most common cause of bitter taste in your mouth, especially upon waking, and is due to the accumulation of saliva and bacteria on the tongue, teeth and gums, causing bad breath.

What to do: Just brush your teeth and keep a routine of at least 2 brushes a day, one after waking up and another before going to bed, for example. In addition, it is also very important to brush your tongue well because the accumulation of dead bacterial cells, also known as lingual coating, is the main cause of bitter taste in your mouth.

2. Use of antibiotics or antidepressants

There are some medications that, when ingested, are absorbed by the body and released into saliva, leading to a change in taste, leaving the mouth tasting bitterly. Examples are antibiotics such as tetracyclines, gout remedies such as allopurinol, lithium or medications used to treat some heart disease.

In addition, people who use antidepressants may also have dry mouths more often, which changes the taste as the taste buds are more tightly closed.

What to do: Usually the bitter taste disappears after a few minutes of taking these medications. However, if it is constant and uncomfortable, you can see your doctor to consider using another medication that does not cause such side effects.

3. Pregnancy

Dysgeusia, also known as metallic taste in the mouth, is a very common symptom for many women during the first trimester of pregnancy. This is due to the hormonal changes that happen in the woman's body, making your taste buds better. See other symptoms may be a sign of pregnancy.

Therefore, some pregnant women may report a similar taste to having a coin in their mouth or having drunk water from a metal cup, for example.

What to do: A great way to eliminate the bitter taste from your mouth is to drink lemonade or suck on a lemon popsicle. Usually, this change lasts only a few days, disappearing naturally.

7 Possible Causes Of Bitter Taste In Mouth

4. Use of Vitamin Supplements

Some vitamin supplements that contain high amounts of metallic substances, such as zinc, copper, iron or chromium, may lead to a bitter metallic taste in the mouth. This side effect is very common and usually appears when the supplement is completely absorbed into the body.

What to do: In these cases you should wait a few minutes to allow the body to absorb the supplement. If the bitter taste is very intense or comes on very often, you can consult your doctor to consider reducing the dose or switching to supplements.

5. Gastroesophageal reflux

Reflux happens when your stomach contents can reach the esophagus after digestion begins, carrying acid to your mouth, which leaves your mouth tasting bitter and even smelly.

What to do: You should avoid eating foods that are very fatty or difficult to digest as they increase the production of acid in the stomach. Also, it is also important to avoid very large meals as they make it difficult for the stomach to close.

6. Hepatitis, fatty liver or cirrhosis

When the liver is not working properly, the body begins to accumulate high amounts of ammonia, which is a toxic substance, which is usually turned into urea by the liver and eliminated in the urine. These increased levels of ammonia cause a change in taste, similar to fish or onion.

What to do: Usually liver problems are accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness or excessive tiredness. Therefore, if liver disease is suspected, consult a hepatologist for blood tests and confirm the diagnosis and start treatment if necessary. Understand which signs that may indicate liver problems.

7. Cold, sinusitis and other infections

Upper respiratory tract infections, such as colds, rhinitis, sinusitis, or tonsillitis, for example, can cause bitter taste to develop in the mouth due to the substances produced by bacteria from such infections.

What to do: In these cases it is important to drink at least 2 liters of water a day as it can help to relieve bitter taste and facilitates recovery. However, it is important to see a general practitioner to identify the specific cause and initiate appropriate treatment.


  • ÇOBAN, Zülal; SÖNMEZ, Işil. Halitosis: A Review of Current Literature. Meandros Med Dent Journal. 164-166, 2017
  • COLGATE. What Causes Sour Tongue And How To Prevent It. Link: <www.colgate.com>. Access in 09 Sep 2019
  • HEALTHLINE. What Causes a Bitter Taste in the Mouth?. Link: <www.healthline.com>. Access in 09 Sep 2019
  • MEDICAL NEWS TODAY. Why do I have a bitter taste in my mouth?. Link: <www.medicalnewstoday.com>. Access in 09 Sep 2019
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