What’s Vapers tongue?

Vaper’s tongue, also known as vaper’s fatigue, is a condition that can affect people who vape regularly. It’s characterized by a temporary loss of taste and flavor when vaping. Keep reading to learn more about what causes vaper’s tongue, how to prevent and treat it, and why it happens.

What Causes Vaper’s Tongue?

There are a few potential causes of vaper’s tongue:

  • Olfactory fatigue – Your taste buds and olfactory senses get overwhelmed by the consistent flavors and nicotine. They essentially get “tired” out temporarily.
  • Dehydration – Vaping can dehydrate your mouth, which can reduce flavor sensitivity.
  • Vape juice ingredients – Some ingredients like extra flavor shots, sweeteners, or citric acid can coat your tongue and numb taste.
  • Smoking history – Long-time smokers may have existing damage to taste buds that makes vaper’s tongue more likely.
  • Vaping habits – High wattage, high temperatures, and chain vaping can increase risk of vaper’s tongue.

The most common causes are olfactory fatigue and dehydration. Your taste buds get oversaturated with the flavors and nicotine, so they stop responding as strongly. Dehydration also dries out your mouth, reducing flavor sensitivity. This combination of factors is why vaper’s tongue is so common.

What are the Symptoms of Vaper’s Tongue?

The main symptom of vaper’s tongue is losing the ability to taste vapor flavor profiles well. Typically you will experience:

  • Reduced ability to taste sweet, salty, bitter, or sour flavors
  • Vape juices tasting burnt or bland
  • Loss of nuance between flavor notes
  • Dull or muted flavor sensations
  • Needing to add more flavor to get taste

These symptoms can vary in severity, from a minor loss of taste to complete loss of all taste from vaping. In most cases, it develops gradually after vaping for a while. The loss of taste typically only affects vape flavors, while food and drink remain unaffected.

Why Does Vaper’s Tongue Happen?

Vaper’s tongue occurs due to two mechanisms that reduce your taste and flavor sensitivity:

Olfactory Fatigue

Smell and taste are intrinsically linked. When you vape, the vapor passes over your olfactory senses and taste buds. With constant exposure to flavors and nicotine, your senses get fatigued and stop responding as strongly. It’s like sniffing coffee beans for too long – you stop smelling it. This olfactory fatigue is likely the top reason for vaper’s tongue.

Mouth Dehydration

PG and VG, the common bases of vape juice, are hygroscopic. This means they absorb and pull moisture out of your mouth’s mucous membranes. A dry mouth prevents your taste buds from working properly, further contributing to dulled flavors.

Together, these two mechanisms overwhelm your taste and smell senses. Some vapers are more prone to vaper’s tongue than others based on genes, smoking history, and vaping habits.

How to Prevent and Treat Vaper’s Tongue

Luckily, vaper’s tongue is reversible and preventable. Here are some tips to avoid and treat vaper’s tongue:

Stay Hydrated

Drink lots of water when vaping to counteract dehydration. You can also use Biotene spray or mouthwash to add moisture back.

Avoid High Temperatures

Vaping at lower temperatures reduces irritation and fatigue of your taste buds.

Use a Tongue Scraper

Gently scraping your tongue removes built-up residue and helps renew your taste buds.

Switch Up Flavors

Vary flavors frequently so your taste buds don’t get overloaded. Avoid vaping the same flavor for too long.

Take a Break from Vaping

Giving your senses a rest from vaping for a day or two can reset your taste buds.

Suck on Citrus, Mint, or Ginger

Sucking on something acidic or spicy stimulates saliva flow and blood circulation to renew taste.

Use Nicotine-Free Vape Juice

Removing nicotine for a short time can prevent over-stimulating your taste receptors.

Exfoliate Your Tongue

Gently brushing your tongue helps remove dead taste bud cells so fresh ones are exposed.

How Long Does Vaper’s Tongue Last?

For most vapers, vaper’s tongue lasts anywhere from a few days to 1-2 weeks. It depends on the severity and underlying cause. With proper treatment, you can typically taste vapor flavors normally again in 3-5 days.

However, in some cases, long-time vapers may experience longer-lasting vaper’s tongue. Heavy chain vaping for months or years can cause extensive olfactory fatigue and taste bud damage. These severe cases can last for many weeks or months.

Can Vaper’s Tongue Be Permanent?

In very rare cases, long-term, heavy vapers may experience semi-permanent or permanent vaper’s tongue. After months or years of chain vaping, they may permanently lose taste, similar to some long-term smokers.

However, for most vapers, vaper’s tongue is a temporary, reversible condition. Taking a break from vaping and oral care allows taste buds to heal within weeks at most. So vaper’s tongue is rarely permanent as long as you let your senses fully recover.

How to Vape With Vaper’s Tongue

If you have a case of vaper’s tongue, you have a few options to make vaping more enjoyable:

  • Use menthol or minty flavors – These cooling agents stimulate taste sensations.
  • Vape acidic fruit flavors – Tart citrus or berry flavors excite taste buds.
  • Try cinnamon, ginger, or spicy mixes – Irritants like these improve circulation.
  • Up your nicotine level temporarily – A slight nic boost can enhance throat hit.
  • Vape cooler – High heat can worsen taste fatigue.
  • Drink lots of water when vaping – Hydration is key.

The good news is vaper’s tongue doesn’t have to ruin your vaping experience. You can still switch up flavors and nicotine levels to find satisfying vapes. However, it’s still ideal to treat and prevent vaper’s tongue rather than masking it.

Vaper’s Tongue vs COVID Loss of Taste

Vaper’s tongue can seem similar to loss of taste/smell from COVID-19 or other viruses. However, there are some differences:

Vaper’s Tongue COVID Loss of Taste
Only affects taste of vaping Blunts all taste and smell senses
Develops gradually Starts suddenly
No other COVID symptoms Accompanied by fever, fatigue, etc.
Last days to weeks Lasts weeks to months
Treatable by vaping less Requires recovery from virus

So while vaper’s tongue only blunts vape flavor profiles, COVID can cause complete loss of taste and smell. If your loss of taste is sudden and affects all senses, it may be COVID-related rather than vaper’s fatigue.

Does Vaper’s Tongue Heal on Its Own?

In many cases, vaper’s tongue will heal on its own within 1-2 weeks if you stop vaping. Giving your taste buds and olfactory senses a break allows them to recover.

However, active steps like hydration, oral hygiene, tongue scraping, and resting your senses will speed up healing. Relying on natural recovery may take much longer than proactively treating vaper’s fatigue.

Vaper’s Tongue vs Dry Mouth from Vaping

Vaper’s tongue and dry mouth from vaping are closely related. Dehydration of oral mucosa is a major contributor to dulled taste and flavor. However, dry mouth itself doesn’t necessarily cause vaper’s tongue.

You can experience dry mouth without loss of taste. It simply makes vaper’s tongue more likely by drying out your mouth. Proper hydration can treat dry mouth without fixing vaper’s fatigue though. So while connected, they aren’t exactly the same issue.

Vaper’s Tongue Treatment Recipes

Some simple DIY recipes can help treat vaper’s tongue by stimulating taste bud renewal:

Saltwater Rinse

Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon sea salt in 1 cup warm water. Swish this around your mouth 2-3 times a day.

Baking Soda Scrub

Mix 1 tsp baking soda with enough water to form a paste. Gently brush your tongue for 60 seconds 1-2 times daily.

Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse

Mix 1 tablespoon 3% hydrogen peroxide into 1 cup water. Swish for 30 seconds before spitting.

When to See a Doctor for Vaper’s Tongue

Vaper’s tongue is normally harmless and temporary. However, if you experience:

  • No taste improvement after 2 weeks rest from vaping
  • Sudden loss of all taste, not just vaping
  • Taste loss along with other concerning symptoms

You may want to see an ENT doctor or oral health specialist. They can examine your mucosa, tongue, and taste buds. They may order bloodwork or conduct sensory tests. This could uncover an underlying condition contributing to ongoing taste issues.

With proper oral hygiene and vape breaks, most cases of vaper’s tongue resolve within days to weeks. But if taste loss persists or worsens, seek professional medical advice when appropriate.

Vaper’s Tongue and Smoking

Both smokers and vapers can experience taste bud issues, although via different mechanisms.

Vaping: Vaper’s tongue is caused more by olfactory fatigue and dehydration. Constant flavor exposure overwhelms taste and smell receptors.

Smoking: Cigarettes can physically damage taste buds and nerves due to heat and chemicals. This causes gradual blunting of all taste perception.

So vaper’s tongue is often temporary and vape-specific, while smoking-related loss is broader, deeper, and more permanent. But both issues improve significantly by quitting or taking an extended break.

Vaper’s Tongue and Nicotine

There are two key links between vaper’s tongue and nicotine:

  1. Nicotine overstimulation – High nic juice can oversaturate receptors, worsening taste fatigue.
  2. Nicotine withdrawal – Some report vaper’s tongue during transition off cigarettes when reducing nic levels.

So fluctuations in nicotine intake seem tied to vaper’s tongue. Try maintaining a steady, moderate nic level to minimize taste issues. Too high or too low nic intake can apparently contribute to dulled, muted vape flavor profiles.

Can Vaper’s Tongue Cause a Sore Throat?

Vaper’s tongue itself does not directly cause a sore throat. However, irritating the throat when experiencing vaper’s tongue can happen as a result of:

  • Vaping at higher temperatures to boost flavor
  • Taking longer, harder hits trying to taste vapor
  • Increasing vape juice flavor levels
  • Using higher nicotine juices to compensate

These behaviors can strain and inflame your throat. It’s best to avoid these compensations. Be gentle on your throat until normal taste returns on its own.

Does Vaper’s Tongue Cause Headache?

Vaper’s tongue itself does not directly lead to headaches. But it can trigger behaviors that secondarily cause headaches, like:

  • Hydrating less due to dull vape flavors
  • Using higher nicotine levels to boost taste
  • Taking more frequent, deeper puffs trying to taste vapor

Dehydration, nicotine overuse, and straining yourself vaping can indirectly cause headaches. Be mindful of keeping yourself hydrated and vaping gently until your vaper’s tongue improves.

Vaper’s Tongue Summary

In summary, vaper’s tongue is a temporary dulling of vaping flavor senses caused by taste bud fatigue and mouth dehydration. It’s common among frequent vapers but treatable within a week or two by:

  • Drinking more water
  • Improving oral hygiene & scraping tongue
  • Taking breaks from vaping
  • Varying vape juice flavors
  • Using acidic drinks and mints/spices

With proper care of your mouth and taste receptors, vaper’s tongue can be quickly reversed. Learn to listen to your senses and give them a rest at the first sign of diminished flavor.

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