We’ve all experienced a bad taste in our mouth from time to time. If it’s a mild experience, then simply brushing your teeth or a quick rinse may get rid of an unpleasant or bitter taste in your mouth.

In certain cases, a bad taste in your mouth may occur for multiple days or even weeks. If this happens, then you’re likely to be dealing with a cause that stems from something beyond simply what you may have eaten or drank.

If an unpleasant taste in your mouth is causing you to eat less or avoid certain foods, it may also mean you are not addressing your body’s nutritional needs. The taste can vary, and you may have a metallic taste in your mouth or a different sensation.

To keep your mouth and teeth healthy you need to ensure bacteria that are built up when you eat and drink are regularly cleared out with daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash.

If not, you may notice a bad taste in your mouth. To help reduce your chances of developing a bad taste in your mouth, ensure to reach difficult areas such as between your teeth and around your wisdom teeth when brushing. It is also important to clean your tongue.

A better understanding of your symptoms can help you and your dental professional have a better sense of what may be causing you to experience a bad taste in your mouth. In the below section, we’ll run you through some of the most common causes and treatments of bad taste in the mouth.

What causes a bad taste in the mouth?

If you’ve experienced a bad taste in your mouth, you’ll likely be wondering where the problem might come from. The causes of a bad taste in the mouth are wide-ranging but some of the most common include the following.

Simply follow the steps outlined below to clean daily and prevent buildup:

  1. Poor Hygiene & Dental Problems
  2. An unpleasant taste in your mouth can be a sign of several oral health issues. One of the most common is gingivitis, which results from a build-up of plaque if you fail to properly brush and floss regularly. Other common root causes of a bad taste in the mouth are abscesses, infections, and wisdom teeth coming through. The pits and crevices of the tongue can harbor bacteria and food debris. Tongue scrapping is an effective way to help keep your tongue clean and limit your chances of experiencing a bad taste

  3. Dry Mouth
  4. A lack of saliva can also contribute to a bad taste in the mouth as your saliva contains nutrients and has a natural buffering effect. It also helps remove food debris and bacteria after eating. However, certain prescribed medication, health conditions like diabetes, cancer therapy, smoking, a blocked nose and even aging can leave you with a dry mouth which can affect saliva’s natural buffering abilities.

  5. Oral thrush
  6. A yeast infection of the mouth, known as oral thrush, is another reason you may experience a bitter taste in your mouth. If you spot white bumps, redness, and have trouble swallowing and a dry mouth, you should see a dental professional as these are all symptoms of oral thrush. This condition is also most likely to be seen in babies, the elderly, or those with a suppressed immune system.

  7. Respiratory or viral infections
  8. Viral infections are also a common cause of a bad taste in the mouth. If you experience a metallic taste in your mouth and nausea these can be early signs of Hepatitis B and its associated liver problems. So be sure to check these with a medical professional. Alternately, if you are struggling to taste then a viral infection such as tonsillitis or the common cold can lead to an unpleasant taste and may be accompanied by congestion or an earache.

  9. Hormonal Changes
  10. Many women report a metallic or bitter taste in the mouth in the first trimester of pregnancy or when going through menopause. This condition is medically referred to as dysgeusia and can be caused by variations in your hormone levels. In particular, varying levels of estrogen have been linked to this metallic taste in your mouth.

  11. Dietary supplements
  12. Taking supplements for a vitamin deficiency may cause a metallic taste in the mouth, especially if you take supplements containing calcium, chromium, copper, iron, vitamin D, zinc, or a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin. If this is the case, speak to your medical professional for recommendations on how to treat this bad taste in your mouth.

  13. Chemotherapy and radiation
  14. If you are undergoing treatment for cancer and a salty or metallic taste in your mouth is bothering you, this is a commonly reported side effect of chemotherapy and radiation on your tongue’s taste receptors. Speak to your health advisor for more support on this.

  15. Medication
  16. Taking antibiotics can also cause side effects on your sense of taste. If this has affected you and you were wondering how to get rid of a bad taste in your mouth from antibiotics, it’s recommended to try using a tongue cleaner or a saltwater rinse.

How to Get Rid of a Bitter Taste in Your Mouth

The first step when looking for a remedy to a bitter taste in your mouth is to ensure you are maintaining good oral hygiene routine of:

  • Brushing 2X/day for the dentist-recommended 2 minutes. Consider switching to an electric toothbrush like the Oral-B iO9 to remove 100% more plaque bacteria than a regular manual toothbrush.
  • Flossing at least 1X/day. Pair traditional string floss like Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Deep Clean with an oral irrigator like the Oral-B Water Flosser Advanced to help wash away any leftover plaque and food debris.
  • Adding a dry mouth rinse to your daily routine. Oral-B Dry Mouth Oral Rinse helps moisturize and hydrate your mouth for immediate dry mouth symptom relief.
  • Visting your dental professional at least 2X/year for professional cleanings and checkups.

As mentioned above, if you are suffering a bad taste in your mouth due to antibiotics a saltwater rinse with a tablespoon of salt or tongue cleaner may help to alleviate this, but speak to your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Beyond these preventative steps, a deep clean of your mouth from a dental professional can be a remedy for a bitter taste in your mouth. If these treatments do not tackle the bad taste in your mouth, a medical or dental professional may suggest additional options or medication to help your mouth produce more saliva.


This blog has been reviewed and approved
by Dr Robert Lee, a dental professional of 35 years

Dr. Lee