Wondering how to get rid of vaper’s tongue — and what exactly it is and what causes it? We delve deep into this peculiar condition and wrap our tongue around some solutions.
Seasoned vapers know the routine, and newcomers to the world of vaping might be surprised, and even shocked, when it happens: one day you’re merrily vaping away and enjoying the e-liquid flavour you’re used to, when all of a sudden you lose your sense of taste, or just can’t taste anything at all when you vape. It’s a phenomenon known as vaper’s tongue, and you might be forgiven for thinking you’d done some harm to your taste buds and they’ve just given up entirely.
It’s not quite so dramatic. Vaper’s tongue strikes without warning, and it can cause upset and make you worried, but the good news is it’s a temporary situation and one that’s easy to rectify — and you can protect yourself from it happening again. In this blog, we’re going to look at what causes this peculiar condition and what you can do if you find you’re hit by vaper’s tongue and are desperate to get back to normal. The precautions and remedies are simple, and there’s no need to rush to the doctor. However, if you suspect it could be something else, for example, if it’s unrelated to vaping or perhaps connected with something you recently ate or drank, it’s always advisable to seek immediate medical attention.
But first: what is vaper’s tongue, and how might you recognise that you have it? Apart from partially or completely being unable to taste the flavours of the vapes you’re using, you might feel as though your tongue has developed a sort of thick coating, as it’s this that’s blocking the sense of taste — and which gave rise to the term “vaper’s tongue” several years ago. While your taste sensations may be impacted, though, you’ll still be able to absorb the nicotine in your vapes — that’s if you’re using e-liquid refills that contain nicotine, as some have none and just fruity and other flavours.
How Long Does Vaper’s Tongue Last?
Vaper’s tongue can last from one to three days, but it might also take a week or even two to completely clear up. Obviously, during this time you won’t be getting the same satisfaction from your vapes that you are used to, and for smokers who are trying to quit by vaping instead, or have already done so successfully, this presents something of a dilemma.
Many former smokers say it’s not just the nicotine they get from vapes that makes the experience of vaping enjoyable but also the many flavours available today — it can be the key to quitting success. If you suddenly can’t taste the flavours, though, is there a risk you might go back to smoking unhealthy cigarettes?
Knowing what vaper’s tongue is and how to properly deal with it means you’re in a better position not to revert back to tobacco and all its many health risks. You can then continue on your vaping journey and protect your health along the way.
What Causes Vaper’s Tongue?
If you’ve recently quit smoking, and you’ve just started vaping and getting to grips with the gear and a whole new experience, you may be wondering if you’re doing it right because you just can’t seem to taste the e-liquid flavours. This could be due to having smoked cigarettes up until recently, because tobacco is infamous for dulling the taste, and smell, senses. But soon enough, when the body starts to eliminate all the toxins built up from smoking, you’ll be delighted to experience the great tastes and smells you knew before you started smoking at all — including your great new vape flavours.
Another cause of vaper’s tongue is dehydration, and you may have noticed that vapers often have a bottle of water with them and regularly take sips from it. This is because e-liquid can dry out the mouth by absorbing the natural moisture, and as taste buds rely on saliva to work, if there is little or none, they won’t be able to pick up on any tastes coming into the mouth. When the mouth dries out, the e-liquid you’re vaping can form a kind of film over the tongue, further blocking the flavours from reaching the taste buds.
Strangely, if you love one particular e-juice flavour — say, strawberry, pineapple or something else — and that’s all you use, it may happen that you become almost desensitised to it and don’t get the kind of taste you were used to at the beginning. It’s sort of like eating the same food over and over — your taste receptors and, ultimately, your brain grow overly used to it and, therefore, become fatigued or bored. If you keep on vaping the same e-liquid flavour, your brain might just block it out altogether, and you end up with no taste at all from your e-liquid.
Something else that may cause difficulty with your flavours and lead you to think you’ve developed vaper’s tongue is something that’s all too common in this part of the world: the very common cold, and its harsher and more problematic relation, the flu. Clearly, if you’ve got the sniffles and it turns into a full-blown cold or flu, all your senses, including those of taste, will be affected and dulled, even if you’re on medication. It’s frustrating, because you’re trying to enjoy something — in this case, vapes — to make you feel a little better amid the aches, pains and everything associated with these endless seasonal maladies, but you just can’t get the taste of the e-liquid flavours you love.
Finally, on the subject of what causes vaper’s tongue, the culprit may be what you’re using to vape with: your beloved e-cigarette and the various components that make it up. We know that atomiser coils, for instance, can easily become filled with various kinds of residue, such as oxidised particles, and if you keep on using your gear without cleaning the atomiser coils, this gunk will get into your mouth and potentially dull your taste buds. Every vaper knows that when they change their coils or when they start using a new atomiser, the flavor is way more pronounced.
How to Get Rid of Vaper’s Tongue
As you may have guessed by now, vaper’s tongue is not the sort of chronic and potentially crippling condition you might have feared. There’s lots you can do to offset the risk and deal with vaper’s tongue when it happens. It starts with oral hygiene. That means keeping your teeth, and your tongue, clean. You can use a scraper to ensure your tongue is always free from debris that could block your taste buds and ruin your vaping experience. And if you think you might be starting to develop vaper’s tongue, it’s a good idea to give your teeth a good brushing.
You can also buy a number of products that will help to keep your mouth hydrated. These include oral hydration toothpastes, mouthwashes and sprays, as well as an overnight oral hydration gel. Some of these products actually have the same kind of PG and VG bases that e-liquid typically contains, which may seem strange given that they are the ones responsible for drying out the mouth in the first place, albeit in vapour form.
Most of us love our tea and coffee, but drink too much, which many of us gleefully do, and you could become dehydrated. Both beverages are diuretics, meaning they make us go to the loo more often, and this results in a lot of water loss. So if you want to ramp up your vaping experience and enhance your pleasure from the flavours you use, cut back on the amount of tea and coffee consume, or just don’t drink them at all — if that’s possible. You could always just drink water anyway, which, as we’ve said, is what experienced vapers do during the day to keep themselves as hydrated as possible so that they get the maximum vape flavour.
If you’re a smoker and vaping at the same time, it’s highly advisable to quit tobacco altogether and vape instead. This is not just so you will be better able to taste your e-juice flavours but also for your health. A growing number of health authorities are now saying that vaping is practically harmless compared to hazardous smoking and that e-cigarettes are a sure-fire way to finally quit — you get the nicotine you want but not the tar and other harmful substances given off by burning tobacco. And a bonus is that your taste buds, long dulled by cigarette smoke, will be refreshed and your sense of taste will quickly return.
Whether you’re a long-term vaper or just beginning to use e-cigarettes, it may be that you’re a chain vaper, in much the same way as non-stop smokers are referred to. It can help to have longer periods between vaping to give your mouth a chance to recover from the dehydrating effects of vape juice. If you find you can’t really do this, one solution may be to increase the nicotine level in your e-liquid so that you’re more satisfied with every vape and can go for longer without vaping again. So if you’re currently using a low-strength e-liquid, you could change to one that has a medium or even high level of nicotine.
If you’re suffering from vaper’s tongue, it might be that you have flavour fatigue, which we’ve already touched on. There are so many great flavours in vape shops now that there’s no excuse for sticking to just one and risking your senses becoming bored. Spice up your entire vaping experience by choosing a number of different e-liquid flavours; they cost very little, so you’ve nothing really to lose, and you might be surprised when you find a great new flavour you never thought you’d vape. And after you’ve tried some new e-liquid flavours, you’ll probably find that when you go back to your original choice, it tastes so much better.
Following on from swapping out your e-juice flavors, we recommend that if you’re battling vaper’s tongue, you vape a menthol or other cooling flavour. These don’t have an actual taste because they activate thermoreceptors in the body, which is why you can feel them on your skin. In the mouth, this has the effect of helping to refresh or reset your taste buds so that you can better taste your fruity and other flavours. You don’t have to stick with a menthol flavor, though; just use one for a short spell, even if you’re not all that into them. Consider it more of a palate cleanser than an all-day vape.
Something else you can try to get rid of dreaded vaper’s tongue is to vape for a while using e-liquids that don’t have any flavour in them at all — just the base and nicotine. This will also aid in giving your tongue a rest from your fruity flavors. All you’ll get in terms of taste from unflavored e-juice is a tiny hint of sweetness. Unflavored vape juice is often cheaper than flavored and it’s a good idea to keep some around in the event that vaper’s tongue starts flaring up again.
Knowing your vape gear and the effects it can have on the body will go a long way towards ensuring you thoroughly enjoy your vaping experience — and hopefully banish vaper’s tongue for good.
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