Vaping is widely regarded as a much healthier alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, but as most people now realize, it isn’t without certain health risks, even if they are much less bad than many of the effects of smoking.
One condition that’s associated with vaping is the so-called vaper’s tongue – and in this post, we look at what may cause it as well as what you can do to get rid of it if you think you might be suffering from it.
What is vaper’s tongue?
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Vaper’s tongue is a well-known condition among vapers where you temporarily lose your sense of taste. Sometimes it can manifest itself as the lack of ability to taste the juice you are vaping, but other times, it can see you partially or totally lose your ability to taste anything.
Other people have reported their food suddenly tasting bland and not the way it is usually supposed to taste.
Vaper’s tongue typically lasts from one to three days, but in some cases, vapers have reported losing their sense of taste for up to two weeks. The good news, though, is that even if you get vaper’s tongue, it doesn’t seem to be permanent.
However, despite it being a well-known condition in the vaping community that most people are aware of, it isn’t scientifically recognized and is supported mainly by anecdotal evidence.
Indeed, much of the conversation about vaper’s tongue comes from people posting about it on social media.
What causes Vaper’s Tongue?
Since vaper’s tongue hasn’t been identified as a condition medically, its causes are still unknown, and medical professionals can so far only speculate.
One possibility is that the loss of taste comes as a side effect of having a dry mouth, which can often be caused by vaping.
When you vape, you breathe in through your mouth, and mouth-breathing in itself is known to cause a dry mouth.
However, vape juice also contains propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG), both ingredients that are known to cause the membranes in the mouth and throat to dry up, so this could also add to the effect.
However, there are other possibilities that can’t be discounted, and this is partly due to the fact that vaping is a relatively new activity.
Since people have only been vaping for a relatively short amount of time, we still don’t know everything about the effects of vaporizing and inhaling all the chemicals commonly found in vape juice – including PG and VG as well as the other chemicals used in the flavorings.
For example, in the case of PG and VG, both are what’s termed “Generally Recognized As Safe” by the US Food and Drug Administration – but this is when they are eaten rather than vaporized and inhaled as aerosols.
However, when things are heated, they may undergo chemical changes, which may result in them interacting with our bodies in different ways – meaning we still aren’t sure if vaping these ingredients is safe.
So in short, while we can guess what might be responsible for vaper’s tongue, nobody yet knows for sure.
How can you get rid of Vaper’s Tongue?
Although the existence of vaper’s tongue as a medical condition still hasn’t been scientifically established, the amount of anecdotal evidence suggests that it’s a real thing.
That said, since we can’t yet pin down what causes it, we also don’t know for sure how to get rid of it – but here are some options you can try that many vapers find work for them.
1. Drink more water
Our tastebuds need saliva to function, so if your mouth dries up, your sense of taste disappears – and since vaping dries your mouth, one simple solution is to make sure you drink lots of water and stay properly hydrated.
This is the most obvious remedy, so for anyone suffering from vaper’s tongue, it should be the first thing you try.
2. Clean your tongue
If drinking water doesn’t help, you can also try cleaning your tongue. The easiest way to do this is to brush it with your toothbrush when you brush your teeth – although some toothbrushes also have a scraper on the back which does an even better job.
This will remove any bacteria from your tongue along with the film that can build up and cover it, and this might also quickly restore your sense of taste and banish your vaper’s tongue.
3. Wash your mouth with an oral hygiene product
The next step after scraping your tongue is to wash your mouth with an oral hygiene product.
A basic mouthwash may help, but some people find that products like Biotene or something similar are the most effective.
4. Drink less alcohol or coffee
Caffeine and alcohol are both what’s known as diuretics, which is the fancy way of saying they make you pee – and the result of your booze- or coffee-driven increased trips to the bathroom will leave you more dehydrated, which in turn can also lead to your mouth drying out.
Again, you can try to combat this by drinking more water, but cutting down your alcohol and caffeine intake may also help with your vaper’s tongue since consuming them may be leaving you with a dry mouth, especially when combined with vaping.
5. Change your vape flavor
Another common theory is that vaper’s tongue is due to “flavor fatigue”, the phenomenon where you stop tasting something after a while if your taste buds are exposed to the same flavor too much.
Modern vape juices are designed to provide ever more intense hits of flavor, and constantly vaping them may lead to your taste buds no longer registering them – especially if you always vape the same juice and the same flavor.
This may mean that simply by changing to another flavor, you will be able to taste what you’re vaping again, and then you can go back to your trusty favorite after taking a break from it for a while.
6. Try a different vape juice or vaping device
Alternatively, you could also try vaping juice made by another company or using a vape from a different brand.
If vaper’s tongue is down to an as-yet unidentified ingredient in certain vape juices, switching to a juice from another brand that might not contain it could possibly remedy your vaper’s tongue.
A good option for this is to switch from your regular vape to a high-quality disposable, which will allow you to change your vaping habits for a time to see if your sense of taste comes back.
For example, you could consider switching to something like the Katana BP 10000 from Spiritbar, a top-end luxury disposable inspired by the iconic Japanese katana sword that offers vapers 10,000 puffs of high-quality vape juice per device.
The Katana BP 10000 is available in a range of original flavors, and using one will allow you to try vaping with a different device until your taste comes back – or you may just decide you prefer the convenience and ease of use of such a device and end up sticking with it!
7. Try vaping menthol – or chewing menthol gum
Menthol is known to “reset” your taste buds, so switching to a menthol vape – or even just using something like menthol gum – may also help resolve vaper’s tongue due to flavor fatigue.
8. Stop smoking
Smoking is a known cause of a diminished sense of taste, and it takes a while for your sense of taste to fully return after you quit.
This means after you quit smoking, you may mistakenly attribute the sensation of vaper’s tongue to your vape as your taste buds begin to return to normal.
In this case, just give it a bit longer. Try not to go back to smoking and give it a few more days or so – because you should soon notice that your senses of taste and smell quickly start to improve.
9. Stop smoking or vaping weed
Smoking or vaping weed are well-known causes of dry mouth, so if you are a weed smoker or vaper, this could be the cause of your vaper’s tongue rather than your actual vape.
10. Take longer breaks between vaping sessions
If your vaper’s tongue doesn’t disappear after trying all the above methods, you should consider trying to take longer breaks between each vaping session.
11. Take a break from vaping
Finally, if taking longer breaks between each time you use your vape still doesn’t help, you might consider taking a break from vaping – or quitting altogether.
If your sense of taste disappears for longer than just a few days, it’s highly advisable to consider quitting at least temporarily. This way you will give your taste buds the best chance to recover, and you will be able to determine whether the condition needs further attention.
If, however, after stopping vaping, your sense of taste still doesn’t return, you should consider seeking advice from a healthcare professional.
Try different methods to see if it goes away
Vaper’s tongue is a well-known side effect of vaping, even if it hasn’t been fully recognized as a real medical condition yet.
At the moment, we don’t know exactly what causes it, so the remedy is similarly uncertain. However, trying some of the methods above seems to help for most people – although if vaper’s tongue persists, it’s best to seek medical help to resolve the issue.