Bitter Taste in Mouth

bitter taste
bitter taste

Food is vital necessity in human life to nourish and give energy to sustain daily living. The fascination in eating lies on the food presentation and most importantly the way it tastes that can satisfy every starved individual. The presentation and beliefs on foods vary from nation to nation and from culture to culture. But what if the food does not have taste or have an entirely different taste from what we are expecting?

Tongue is an important part of food mastication. It is a muscle lying on the floor of the mouth which is responsible for gustatory or the ability to taste. Tongue is not only for food mastication but for phonetic articulation as well.

It is bad to be faced with a gastronomic feast yet the food tastes entirely different from what to be expected. What if everything tastes bitter? The cake that is supposed to be sweet tastes bitter. The food marinated in salt tastes bitter. Everything tastes bitter.

Bitter taste in mouth from something we ingest that is least expected that may not be caused by medicine or something is a sign or a distortion in the gustatory sense. The distortion in sense of taste is called dysguesia.

The tongue consists of about 100, 000 tastes buds in the back and front which gradually lessen as the people ages. Taste buds are responsible in signaling the brain the food or anything that is tasted. Taste can either be aversive or appetitive or can either be beneficial or harmful.

Bitter taste is often perceived as disagreeable, unpleasant and sharp. It is the most sensitive of the many tastes and bitter taste can also signal toxic substance ingested. The ability to taste bitterness of human according to researchers is due to the TAS2Rs receptor together with the G protein gustducin.

Bitter Taste in Mouth Causes

Distortion in the sense of taste can be through a various reasons. Bitter taste is often associated with vomiting and acid reflux and may also be due to poisoning or toxic substance ingestion. Bitter taste can be perceived due to oral habit, certain disease or condition and may be due to trauma that can alter taste and such causes are:

Common Conditions Causing Bitter Taste

  • Improper oral habits
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Dry mouth
  • Oral medications
  • Vomiting
  • Acid reflux

Trauma Causing Bitter Taste

Taste can be altered when one experienced trauma damaging the sensory of taste if not from complication brought by the trauma and these are:

  • Injuries to the gustatory nerves
  • Ingestion of toxic substance
  • Head trauma that may damage the nose and the mouth
  • Burned tongue
  • Severe biting of the tongue

Bitter Taste due to Diseases and Disorders

Some diseases and disorders may also alter the sense of taste and may result to bitter taste and these include:

  • Glossitis or the inflammation of the tongue
  • Autoimmune disorder causing dry mouth or the syndrome called Sjorgen’s syndrome
  • Vitamin deficiency specifically of zinc or Vitamin B12
  • Infection of the salivary gland
  • Allergies

Medications and Therapy Causing Bitter Taste

It is very common for one to have a bitter taste as a result of medication whether oral or in any other form including therapies used as long-term treatment or for treating serious conditions and these may include:

  • Thyroid treatments
  • Bronchodilators
  • Chemotherapy
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Medication for high blood pressure and heart failure

Other factors causing bitter taste in mouth

  • Orthodontic surgery
  • Orthodontic applications
  • Surgical procedures to the head, neck, nose and throat

Bitter Taste in Mouth when Eating and After Eating

A bitter taste in the mouth when eating may be due to medication previously taken prior to eating. It may be as a result of medicine that has not been properly washed out or that has not been washed out prior to eating and which has remained on the surface of the tongue.

Altered taste of bitterness when eating is due to a wide reason and one serious sign that prompted bitter taste and may be life-threatening is ingesting a toxic substance experiencing bitterness when eating. This should be taken seriously and medical attention should be given right away.

Bitter taste in mouth after eating is quite irritating and uncomfortable. There are certain edibles that when taken stains a taste of bitterness which stays for a short period or even few days. One such example is the pine nut phenomenon which is said to cause bitter taste after consuming it. There are also edibles which are quite bitter in nature such as the bitter gourd and fenugreek which leaves a bitter taste after eating. Medications and therapies also caused to have bitter taste after eating or worse, while eating which can lessen the appetite of an individual.

Bitter Taste in Mouth during Pregnancy

A woman during pregnancy will experience various changes not only in her body but also the whole system of her being. Change in hormonal is one vivid experience a woman can undergo during pregnancy altering almost all of the hormonal function. The hormonal changes affecting the estrogen and progesterone increasing its level causes a pregnant woman to experience bitter taste.

Bitter Taste in Mouth Diagnosis

Diagnosing bitter taste in mouth is diagnosing the underlying condition resulting to altered taste of bitterness. Diagnosis is obtained through physical examination and series of questions related to present episode of bitter taste to be asked by medical professionals. The questions will include habits and medical history of the patient.

How to Get Rid of Bitter Taste in Mouth

Treating bitter taste in mouth is to treat the underlying cause if bitter taste is brought by disease and disorders. Common causes of bitter taste such as poor oral hygiene requires one to start practicing proper hygiene while for smokers the best remedy is to stop smoking. Cleaning the tongue using soft bristles can also help by removing bitter debris on the surface of tongue.


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