Ick, Blecch, Blah: What’s Causing That Awful Taste?

Bad taste and gum disease in Polk City, IA

We said “floss,” not “fish.”

“I brushed, I flossed, I swished, I spat. Why do I still have this gross taste in my mouth?’ When you devote so much time to caring for your teeth, it’s natural to feel frustration when a funky taste still lingers. At Cornerstone Dental, we see many patients who feel self-conscious and concerned about this common problem. Although poor oral hygiene can cause this bad taste, other factors can contribute as well, says Dr. Ryan Hussong, a dentist serving patients in the Polk City area.

The Link Between Bad Taste and Gum Disease

According to Dr. Hussong, tooth decay and gum disease are among the most common causes of an unpleasant taste. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time to seek treatment for gum disease in Polk City, IA:

  • Red, tender gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • Loose or sensitive teeth
  • Gums that appear to recede
  • Persistent bad breath

If It’s Not Gum Disease, What Is It?

Although regular brushing and flossing prevents periodontal disease in most cases, some of our patients have a higher risk of developing the condition. When you visit Cornerstone Dental for your exam and dental cleaning, we can determine whether periodontal disease or hygiene factors are behind the bad taste. If not, consider other common causes of this unsavory effect:

Dozens of prescription medications list bad taste as a possible side effect. This effect, known as dysgeusia, can produce a bitter, salty, or metallic taste. Antibiotics, antidepressants, and medications for high blood pressure and diabetes can cause dysgeusia, as can drugs in many other categories.

During the first three months of pregnancy, many women experience a bitter taste. We attribute this to increases in estrogen levels. Fortunately, this unpleasant effect usually subsides by the second trimester.

If you frequently experience acid reflux, you may notice an occasional bitter taste. This occurs when small amounts of stomach acid seep into your throat. Controlling your condition with prescription medication or infrequent antacid use usually eliminates the problem.

Halitosis, or bad breath, can also contribute to the problem. When leftover food remains in your mouth, it fuels bacterial growth and plaque formation. Blame the stinky sulfur compounds, which create an all-around unpleasant environment that causes embarrassment.

When you suffer from a cold, infection, or allergies, you often experience postnasal drip. This excess mucus may contain traces of bacteria or viruses, resulting in a taste that many describe as sour or bitter.

Time for a professional cleaning? To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ryan Hussong, or to request more information about periodontal therapy, contact our Polk City office at 515-984-6001. We serve patients living in and around Ankeny, Ames, Grimes, Des Moines, Urbandale. For the latest news and insights, follow Cornerstone Dental on Facebook.