Have you ever taken an over-the-counter medicine and then noticed a bad taste in the back of your throat? This is a pretty common side effect for a lot of people. Prescription medicines may also leave a nasty taste in your throat.
However, medicines are not the only thing that can leave a bitter taste in your mouth and throat; so, too, can tooth decay, unhealthy gums, bacterial infections, diseases of the gums and throat, and even cancer. Other systemic diseases may leave a nasty, bitter taste in your throat.
Poor oral hygiene is another cause of that nasty taste. Food left on the teeth after meals is a wonderful breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria. As these particles of food begin to rot, they produce sulfur compounds which taste, and smell, terrible. Abscesses and dental caries, postnasal drip, gastritis, pyrosis, over use of selenium, mercury poisoning, and copper toxicity may all cause a foul taste in the back of your throat.
At times you may even notice that the food you are eating has a slightly different taste than it normally does. This may be due to certain medications you are taking, or it could be due to a runny nose from a cold or sinus problems, or you could have a nasal infection or nasal polyps.
The tongue is covered with sensory cells (taste buds) that give each food we eat its distinct flavors. The taste buds are as prone to infection as any other part of the body. When a bacterial or viral infection affects the taste buds, the result may be a foul taste in the mouth and throat. Fungal infections and mouth ulcers may also be another cause for this nasty taste. People with diabetes and jaundice often complain about foul tastes in their throat and mouth.
At times, if not done properly, root canals – the cleaning of the inner part of the infected tooth – can lead to nasty gum infections. These infections leave the nastiest, foulest tastes in the mouth, and requires another trip to the dentist for further treatment.
Pregnant women many also notice a foul taste in the back of their throat. Pregnant women should discuss this with their doctor as there are ways to prevent it.
A bad taste in the back of your throat could mean just about anything. Most often it is simply due to poor oral hygiene. Taking proper care of your mouth, including your tongue, will go a long way towards keeping parasites and bacteria away. One simple way to care for your mouth is to change your toothbrush often – once a month would be ideal, but you should use a new one at least every three months.
If you do notice a foul taste in the back of your mouth or throat, visit your doctor for further treatments. He may find a medical problem is causing the bad taste, or he may decide you need to visit a dentist for further treatment. Practicing proper mouth care should keep you away from the doctor and the dentist.