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Navigate: FAQ Home Page > Tongue & Teeth > Bitter taste on tongue
There are 5 main taste categories including sweetness, bitterness, sourness, saltiness, and umami (such as MSG). Bitterness is unpleasant but important because some toxins and unhealthy foods may taste bitter. Individual taste buds, which contain approximately 100 taste receptor cells, are capable of differentiating various combination of tastes. Thus, we don't truly have bitterness-only taste buds. In addition, your sense of smell also contributes how food tastes. That's why food doesn't taste as good when you have a cold.
If you are having a bitter taste in you mouth, various common causes include foods you ate, reflux disease (bile tastes bitter), dental problems, nasal/sinus drainage, medications, etc. You should talk to your doctor if bitter taste in your mouth persists.
Frank Lin , M.D.