Having a bitter taste in mouth after eating can be an unsettling symptom. In this article, we’ll show you what might be causing it.
In most cases, a persistent taste sensation can be linked to the foods you’re eating. Any remnant of a food particle can get stuck between teeth and/or mouth crevices.
Over time, the food particles mix with the saliva, causing you to experience a chronic taste sensation.
Keep in mind that certain foods are more likely to “stick” to the surface of the tongue than others. Have you eaten pickles, pine nuts, or bitter vegetables lately?
If so, this could be a cause for your symptom. Below, we’ll talk about some other possibilities to consider.
How Does Your Sense of Taste Work?
Before answering why you’re having this symptom, it helps to understand how your sense of taste works.
The ability to taste is a result of sensory cells on the tongue that are stimulated by food molecules.
These cells are known as gustatory cells, and once activated, they’ll send a signal to your brain to interpret the taste of the food you’re eating.
At birth, you have around 10,000 taste buds, and as you get older, you begin to lose them. Here’s a video that will explain it better:
When A Bitter Taste in Mouth After Eating Isn’t Related to Food
There may be times when this an “odd” taste in the mouth isn’t related to the food you’re eating. So, what’s causing it? One possible cause is acid reflux.
Also known as GERD, this is when the acid in your stomach goes up the esophagus (and sometimes into the mouth).
If the acid damages your taste buds, it may cause you to experience a bitter taste even when you haven’t eaten anything.
If you have GERD, you’ll need to make a few lifestyle changes to alleviate the symptoms. These include:
- Not overeating
- Not eating too close to bed time
- Not eating acidic foods
- Not putting pressure on the stomach after eating
Basically, you don’t want to do anything that will cause stomach contents to go up the esophagus. This is why laying down after a large meal is very bad.
It causes stomach acid to seep up towards your mouth, which can result in tooth decay and odd taste sensations.
Dysgeusia – The Official Word For “Distortion in Sense of Taste”
The word dysgeusia is what doctors use to describe a patient’s distortion in sense of taste. With this condition, the person’s sense of taste doesn’t work properly.
For example, they may have a metallic taste in their mouth even if they haven’t eaten anything.
Having a bitter taste in mouth after eating is also a possibility. Sometimes the symptom is sporadic, while in other cases, it’s chronic. Fortunately, your dysgeusia should go away once the cause is removed.
Of all sensory disorders, dysgeusia is one of the most difficult to diagnose. The reason why is because the sense of taste is linked to the sense of smell and the somatosensory system.
For this reason, it will be challenging for a doctor to pinpoint the exact cause of your symptom. In most cases, gustatory testing will be performed.
This will give the doctor the information they need to make an accurate diagnosis.
Common Causes of Taste Disorders
Some people are born without the ability to taste food. Other people develop this disorder after an injury or during an illness.
Here are some of the more common reasons why people experience a bitter taste in mouth after eating:
- Exposure to insecticides
- Some medications
- Head injury
- Surgeries involving the nose, ear, or throat
- Middle ear infection
- Upper respiratory infection
- Poor oral hygiene
- Any other dental problems
Not all people with taste disorders experience the same thing. For example, some people experience metallic, rancid, salty, or foul tastes.
In extreme cases, it can be accompanied by burning mouth syndrome, a condition in which a person experiences a chronic burning sensation in the mouth.
Can a Taste Disorder Be Treated?
As we mentioned earlier, once the cause of your symptom is removed, your taste disorder should go away. So it starts with a doctor being able to accurately diagnose you.
If it’s a medication causing your symptom, then stop taking them (with permission from your doctor of course).
If it’s a respiratory infection causing your symptoms, then your bitter taste in mouth after eating should go away once the infection has cleared.
If it’s poor hygiene causing this symptom, then using better hygiene should make it go away.
Many of times, you’ll find that this strange symptom is linked to poor oral hygiene. People can have cavities or tooth decay and not even realize it.
Dental problems are a common reason for why people lose the ability to taste, or why they taste things that aren’t there.
Are Taste Disorders Serious?
In most cases, the cause is benign and shouldn’t cause you to panic. If your symptoms are chronic, or are getting worse, then it’s time to see a doctor.
In more serious cases, it can be linked to stroke, diabetes, or heart disease. If you’re a younger person, this is rare, but if you’re older, you shouldn’t rule it out.
You should pay attention to any additional symptoms, like smelling things that aren’t there or other changes in taste.
To summarize, a distortion in taste is known as dysgeusia. If you’re experiencing this, it could be due to poor oral hygiene, a respiratory infection, or allergies.
While challenging to diagnose, a specialist should be able to pinpoint the problem. Once the cause of your symptom is removed, it should go away.
Start following better hygiene protocols today to see if that makes a difference, and pay attention to any medications that you’re currently on to see if they’re the primary cause.