Sour Taste in Mouth

sour taste in the mouth
sour taste in the mouth

Most of us experience sour taste in mouth every time we wake up from our sleep. This normally fades although for some it does not fade and often persists. Sour taste in mouth that persists is one type of dysguesia where a taste alteration exists. It is often caused by anaerobic bacteria that thrive at the back of the tongue.

Taste for sourness depicts acidity and the taste is detected by small subset of cells spread on the taste buds expressed by protein PKD2L1. It is sensed by using ion channels where hydrogen ion channels perceive concentration of hydronium ions formed from acid and water. Fruit is the common food group containing sourness such as lemon and guava.

Sour taste in the mouth can also be attributed to an existing underlying condition and may be manifesting as a symptom. It can be a signal of something more serious if all actions have been done to eradicate sourness.

Sour Taste in Mouth Causes

Food has been attributed to commonly cause sour taste in mouth. Predominantly, food is not only the reason to have sour taste in mouth. There are a lot of reasons contributing to sourness especially if it is persistent. There are particular circumstances that may attribute for the cause of sourness and these may include:

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD

Sourness in taste can be experienced when stomach contents reflux back into the esophagus reaching the back of the throat. It is when the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes or weakens allowing stomach acid to flow backward into the esophagus.

Anaerobic Bacteria

The basic culprit to cause sulfur smelling breath and sour taste every time we wake up. The bacteria thrive at the back of the tongue which grows uncontrollably during our sleep as the saliva drastically drops. Saliva is responsible for breaking down the bacteria accumulating at the back of the tongue.

Heartburn is a burning sensation experienced when stomach acid flows backward into the esophagus potentially causing sour taste in the mouth.

Zenker’s Diverticulum
This condition allows food particles to be trapped in the pouch of the esophagus. This can be experienced when one lay down right after eating making the decaying food particles spill out of the pouch into the back of the throat.

Post-nasal Drip
Nasal mucus is high in protein and feeds the bad breath bacteria resulting to increased growth of bacteria that build up causing sour taste in the mouth.

Dry Mouth
Dry mouth results to lack of saliva which disrupts the bacterial growth. Sour taste occurs when the taste buds are not properly hydrated which keep it healthy to function properly.

Neurologic Disorder
Diseased or damaged brain can misinterpret sense of smell and taste. Epileptic seizure is one example wherein the episode is often preceded by illusions of smell and vision. The neurologic disorder causing sour taste is a rare or uncommon cause although it is worth considering.

Tooth Decay and Tooth Infection
Bacterial growth and accumulation is possible giving sour taste in mouth as the fluid pus is formed.

Chronic Illness
Chronic illness such as diabetes can impair the gustatory sense hampering the proper function and interpretation of the taste buds.

A condition of decrease flow of saliva is called xerostomia. Saliva disrupts the growth and accumulation of the bacteria that thrive at the back of the throat. Decrease in secretion of saliva will result to bacterial growth subsequently resulting to sour taste in mouth.

Sour Taste in Mouth after Eating

Sour taste in mouth after eating can be attributed to food that has been eaten. There are certain foods and drinks that leave a sour taste in the mouth. Fruits commonly leave a sour taste in the mouth after eating it. Wine also gives a sour tinge as well as fruit juices. The sour taste however, only stays for a while and usually fades after washing it down with enough amount of water.

Lying down right after eating will also give a sour taste when the decaying food spills out of the pouch of esophagus into the back of the throat giving sour taste. It is wise to stand up for a while after eating or just sitting down to give the food ample time to go down and to facilitate proper digestion.

Acid reflux is the most common cause of sour taste in the mouth after eating especially for individuals with gastroesophageal reflux disease. Food such as chocolates and spicy foods are most common in causing reflux.

Sour Taste in Mouth during Pregnancy

Acid reflux is most common in pregnant women due to increasing abdominal pressure brought by growing fetus. The lower esophageal sphincter is affected by the increasing abdominal pressure allowing stomach content to spill over resulting to acid reflux.

Sour taste is also associated with vomiting experienced by pregnant women known as morning sickness. This is common during the first trimester of pregnancy and normally subsides on the second trimester of pregnancy.

How to Get Rid of Sour Taste in Mouth

  1. Gargling or brushing teeth helps to eradicate sour taste in the mouth every time one wakes up from sleep.
  2. Avoid lying down right after eating.
  3. People with gastroesophageal reflux disease should avoid food that triggers acid reflux such as spicy foods and coffee.
  4. Practice proper oral hygiene to eliminate bacterial growth and accumulation.
  5. Taking plenty of water like eight glasses of water a day to properly hydrate oral cavity to disrupt bacterial growth and maintain hydration of the mouth.

Sour Taste in Mouth Treatment

Preventing sourness in taste is better than treating it although treatment of sourness when it is persisting starts with identifying the cause such as identifying the underlying condition.

Good oral hygiene will prevent and treat sourness in taste as it facilitates oral cleanliness and maintains healthy oral cavity to keep it functioning.

Always check with oral health practitioner for proper guidance.


  1. I brush my teeth regularly, and still having sour taste in my mouth
    I also use baking soda with toothpaste no help
    What can I buy over the counter

  2. No it means the system is in an acidic state. Make it alkaline using a teaspoon of bicarb or Epson salt in a cup of water. Don’t drink liquor or tea or coffee or cocoa or fruit juices until the system is alkaline again.


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