Bad Taste in the Mouth

Symptom Checker: Symptoms & Signs Index

Medical Author:

Related
Symptoms & Signs

A bad taste in the mouth can be a result of a wide range of medical conditions and even everyday situations. Many different kinds of prescription or over-the-counter medications can interfere with the sense of taste and may produce an unpleasant sensation of taste. The feeling of a bad taste in the mouth is usually temporary and improves when the underlying cause is remedied. Consumption of certain foods, or the use of tobacco products, can result in an unpleasant or bad taste in the mouth. Poor dental health and poor hygiene are other potential causes of a bad taste in the mouth.

Dysgeusia is the medical term for an impaired sense of taste. It can result in unpleasant taste sensations ranging from metallic to salty or bitter. The bad taste may also be described as foul or rancid. The severity of the bad taste varies among affected individuals. Dysgeusia can be caused by infections, inflammation, injury, or environmental factors. A history of radiation therapy to the head and neck can also cause a bad taste in the mouth. Sometimes, women in the early stages of pregnancy find that their sense of taste appears to have changed, possibly resulting in a bad taste in the mouth.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/10/2015

Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.

REFERENCE:

Longo, Dan, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 18th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2011.

Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Causes of Bad Taste in the Mouth
    • Chewing Tobacco (Smokeless Tobacco, Snuff) Chewing tobacco (snuff or smokeless tobacco) has more nicotine absorbed into the system than by smoking a cigarette. Chewing...learn more »
      In This Article
      Chewing Tobacco (Smokeless Tobacco, Snuff) Article
      • Chewing tobacco facts
      • What is chewing tobacco?
      • What are the health risks of chewing tobacco?
      • Cancer risk and chewing tobacco
      • Other health risks of chewing tobacco
      • Is chewing tobacco safer than cigarette smoking?
      • What is being done to reduce the use of chewing tobacco?
      • What treatments are available to help people quit using chewing tobacco?
    • Dehydration Dehydration is the excessive loss of body water. There are a number of causes of dehydration including heat exposure, prolonged...learn more »
      In This Article
      Dehydration Article
      • Dehydration facts
      • What is dehydration?
      • What causes dehydration?
      • Dehydration pictures
      • What are the signs and symptoms of dehydration?
      • What about dehydration in children?
      • How is dehydration diagnosed?
      • How is dehydration treated?
      • Can I treat dehydration at home?
      • What are the complications of dehydration?
      • Can dehydration be prevented?
    • Dry Mouth (Xerostomia) Dry mouth is a common side effect of many prescription and non-prescription drugs and certain medical conditions. Symptoms of dry...learn more »
      In This Article
      Dry Mouth (Xerostomia) Article
      • What is dry mouth?
      • How common is dry mouth?
      • What are the benefits of saliva?
      • What causes dry mouth?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of dry mouth?
      • How do health-care professionals diagnose dry mouth?
      • What is the treatment for dry mouth?
      • Is it possible to prevent dry mouth?
      • What is the prognosis of dry mouth?
    • Ear Infection (Otitis Media) Middle ear infection or inflammation (otitis media) is inflammation fo the middle ear. There are two types of otitis media, acute...learn more »
      In This Article
      Ear Infection (Otitis Media) Article
      • Ear infection or inflammation (otitis media) facts
      • What is otitis media (middle ear infection or inflammation)?
      • What are the symptoms of acute middle ear infection?
      • How common is acute middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • "Are ear infections contagious?
      • Why do young children tend to have ear infections?
      • How does the Eustachian tube change as a child gets older?
      • What microorganisms cause middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • What is the relationship between bottlefeeding and middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • What are the risk factors for acute middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • How is acute otitis media diagnosed?
      • How is acute middle ear infection or inflammation treated?
      • Are there any home remedies for acute ear infection (otitis media)?
      • What causes chronic middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • What happens to the eardrum in chronic middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • What happens to the eardrum if a hole develops in the eardrum?
      • How is chronic middle ear infection or inflammation treated?
      • What are the goals of chronic otitis media surgery?
      • What is serious middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • What limitations are there on a child with middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • Can otitis media (middle ear infection or inflammation) be prevented?
    • GERD and GER (Acid Reflux) in Infants and Children GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is the upward movement of stomach content, including acid, into the esophagus and...learn more »
      In This Article
      GERD and GER (Acid Reflux) in Infants and Children Article
      • What are GER and GERD in infants and children?
      • What causes GER and GERD in infants and children?
      • What are the symptoms of GER and GERD in infants and children?
      • How are GER and GERD in infants and children diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for GER in infants?
      • How are GER and GERD treated in infants and children?
      • What is the prognosis for GER and GERD in infants and children?
    • Gum Disease Gum disease is caused by plaque and may result in tooth loss without proper treatment. Symptoms and signs of gum disease...learn more »
      In This Article
      Gum Disease Article
      • What is gum disease (gingivitis)?
      • What is the difference between gingivitis and periodontal disease?
      • What causes gum disease?
      • Does gum disease cause bad breath?
      • What are other gum disease symptoms and signs?
      • How is gum disease diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for gum disease?
      • Are home remedies or natural treatments effective for gum disease?
      • Can gum disease be reversed?
      • Is gum disease associated with other health problems?
      • How is gum disease managed in children?
      • How is gum disease managed in pregnancy?
      • Can gum disease be prevented?
      • Is gum disease contagious?
    • Head Injury (Brain Injury) In the United States, head injuries are one of the most common causes of death and disability. Head injuries due to bleeding are...learn more »
      In This Article
      Head Injury (Brain Injury) Article
      • Head injury facts
      • Head injury introduction
      • What are the causes of head injury?
      • What are the symptoms of a head injury?
      • What is the Glasgow Coma Scale?
      • When should I contact a doctor about a head injury?
      • How is a head injury diagnosed?
      • How is a head injury treated?
      • What is the prognosis for a head injury?
      • How can a head injury be prevented?
      • What about a head injury in infants and young children?
    • Hiatal Hernia Hiatal hernia is a condition in which a thin membrane of tissue connects the esophagus with the diaphragm becomes week, and a...learn more »
      In This Article
      Hiatal Hernia Article
      • Hiatal hernia definition
      • What causes a hiatal hernia?
      • Is there one more than one type of hiatal hernia?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of a hiatal hernia?
      • How is hiatal hernia diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for hiatal hernia?
      • Hiatal hernia medications
      • Lifestyle changes
      • Hiatal hernia surgery
    • Infectious Mononucleosis Infectious mononucleosis is a virus infection in which there is an increase of white blood cells that are mononuclear (with a...learn more »
      In This Article
      Infectious Mononucleosis Article
      • Infectious mononucleosis (mono) facts
      • What is infectious mononucleosis?
      • What is the cause of mono?
      • What are the risk factors for mono?
      • How is mono transmitted or spread? What is the incubation period for mono? What is the contagious period for mono?
      • What are the symptoms of mono?
      • What are the signs of mono?
      • How is mono diagnosed?
      • What is the usual course and treatment of mono?
      • What are the complications of mono?
      • How can mono be prevented?
      • Conclusion
    • Oral Cancer The term oral cancer includes cancer of the mouth (oral cavity) and the back of the mouth (oropharynx). Red and white patches...learn more »
      In This Article
      Oral Cancer Article
      • Oral cancer facts*
      • What is the oral cavity?
      • What is cancer?
      • Who's at risk for oral cancer?
      • What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
      • How is oral cancer diagnosed?
      • How is oral cancer treated?
      • Methods of treatment
      • What are the side effects of treatment for oral cancer?
      • What is rehabilitation for oral cancer?
      • What happens after treatment for oral cancer?
      • What does the future hold for patients with oral cancer?
      • What resources are available to patients with oral cancer?
    • Pericoronitis Pericoronitis is inflammation of the gum tissue around the molars. Pericoronitis commonly occurs in teens or young people when...learn more »
      In This Article
      Pericoronitis Article
      • What is pericoronitis?
      • What causes pericoronitis?
      • What are risk factors for pericoronitis?
      • What are pericoronitis symptoms and signs?
      • How is pericoronitis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for pericoronitis?
      • Are home remedies effective for pericoronitis?
      • What is the prognosis for pericoronitis?
      • Is it possible to prevent pericoronitis?
    • Pregnancy (Week By Week, Trimesters) There are many symptoms involved in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy. The first early pregnancy symptom is typically...learn more »
      In This Article
      Pregnancy (Week By Week, Trimesters) Article
      • Pregnancy facts*
      • Introduction
      • What is the first trimester (week 1-week 12)?
      • What is the second trimester (week 13-week 28)?
      • What is the third trimester (week 29-week 40)?
      • How will my baby develop week by week?
      • What are the changes that happen to a woman's body during the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimester of her pregnancy?
      • Body aches
      • Breast changes
      • Constipation
      • Dizziness
      • Fatigue, sleep problems
      • Heartburn and indigestion
      • Hemorrhoids during pregnancy
      • Itching
      • Leg cramps
      • Morning sickness
      • Nasal problems
      • Numb or tingling hands
      • Stretch marks, skin changes
      • Swelling
      • Urinary frequency and leaking
      • Varicose veins
    • Sinus Infection (Sinusitis) Sinus infection (sinusitis) signs and symptoms include headache, fever, and facial tenderness, pressure, or pain. Treatments of...learn more »
    • Smoking (How to Quit Smoking) Smoking is an addiction. More than 430,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. from smoking related illnesses. Secondhand smoke or...learn more »
      In This Article
      Smoking (How to Quit Smoking) Article
      • Smoking and quitting smoking facts
      • What problems are caused by smoking?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of cigarette addiction?
      • What are the steps in quitting?
      • Getting ready to quit smoking
      • On the day you quit smoking
      • Staying quit
      • What methods can help a person quit smoking?
      • Nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking
      • Nicotine patches
      • Nicorette gum
      • Nicotine lozenges
      • What prescription products are available for smoking cessation?
      • How can nicotine-containing products be used safely?
      • What are e-cigarettes?
      • Is an e-cigarette harmful?
      • Is secondhand smoke from e-cigarettes harmful?
      • What is in the future for smoking?
    • Taste Disorders The most common taste disorder is phantom taste perception; that is, a lingering, often unpleasant taste even though you have...learn more »
      In This Article
      Taste Disorders Article
      • Taste disorders facts*
      • How common are taste disorders?
      • How does your sense of taste work?
      • What are the taste disorders? What are symptoms of taste disorders?
      • What causes taste disorders?
      • How are taste disorders diagnosed?
      • Can taste disorders be treated?
      • Are taste disorders serious?
      • What research is being done about taste disorders?
      • Where can I find additional information about taste disorders?
    • Tonsillitis It is thought that the tonsils and adenoids assist the body in fighting incoming bacteria and viruses by helping the body form...learn more »
      In This Article
      Tonsillitis Article
      • Tonsillitis and adenoid infection facts
      • What are the tonsils and adenoids?
      • What is the purpose of the tonsils and adenoids?
      • What are the symptoms of tonsillitis or an adenoid infection?
      • What does tonsillitis look like?
      • Can someone catch tonsillitis from another person?
      • What are common problems affecting the tonsils and adenoids?
      • How are tonsillitis and adenoid infection diagnosed?
      • How are tonsillitis and adenoid infection treated?
      • What home remedies help soothe tonsillitis?
      • When should the tonsils and/or adenoids be removed?
    • Upper Respiratory Tract Infection An upper respiratory infection is a contagious infection of the structures of the upper respiratory tract, which includes the...learn more »
Other Causes of Bad Taste in the Mouth


Symptoms & Signs A-Z List