What are the common causes of sour saliva?

Sour saliva can be the result of a number of common problems, some short-term and some long-term. Eating certain foods, taking some types of medications, and vitamin deficiencies can lead to sour, bad-tasting saliva. Gum disease, infected teeth, and other dental problems may be to blame. Many times the culprit is a buildup of anaerobic bacteria on the back of the tongue, a situation that can be exacerbated by post-nasal drip, chronic dry mouth, or simply decreased saliva production during sleep. People with heartburn may also notice a sour taste due to acids and undigested food coming back into the mouth.

In many cases, sour saliva is a brief problem that resolves once the cause is no longer present. Eating certain foods that are sour or have a strong flavor can leave a sour aftertaste for a short time. It can be a side effect of certain medications, but should resolve once the medications are stopped. Deficiencies of certain vitamins like B12 can cause sour saliva, but this can be corrected by adding a supplement to the diet.

Dental problems are another common cause of sour saliva. People with gum disease, where the gum tissue becomes swollen, inflamed and infected, may notice that their saliva is sour and unpleasant. An abscessed infected tooth can also create a sour taste due to excess bacteria in the mouth.

For most people, an increase in bacteria in the mouth is behind their sour saliva. This often simply happens because less saliva is produced during sleep to break it down, leading to a sour taste and bad breath in the morning. People with sinus infections may be more prone to sour saliva, as the mucosa on the back of the tongue provides extra protein for bacteria to grow. People with chronic dry mouth may also have problems with excess bacteria in the mouth; The condition can also interfere with the function of the taste buds, which can exacerbate the impression of a sour taste.

Heartburn can also be behind a case of sour saliva. The condition causes stomach acid and sometimes undigested food particles to reflux into the throat and mouth, where they can mix with saliva and turn it sour and sometimes bitter. This can be a one-off or occasional problem, or it can be ongoing for those with a chronic case.

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