Have you ever had a time when your favorite vape flavor just tasted so bland all of a sudden? You suspect that your juice might have gone bad so you ask your friends to test them, and to your surprise they all said everything tasted fantastic the same as always. Panicked about the possibility of losing your sense of taste, you go online and discover that you might have what is known as the “vaper’s tongue.”
First of all, don’t panic.
The “vaper’s tongue” (aka vape tongue, vaper’s fatigue, vaper’s mouth) happens to both new and seasoned vapers. There’s a lot of reasons of what causes the vaper’s tongue, and the good news is that the condition is not permanent. If you leave it alone for a while, it will start to recover by itself. There are also a few things you can do to speed up the recovery as listed below.
In this article we’ll talk about a few common causes for the vaper's tongue and a few suggestions on what you can do about it.
Possible causes and fixes for the vaper’s tongue
1. Sensory adaptation due to vaping the same flavor day in and day out
One of the most common causes for the vaper’s tongue is due to sensory adaptation. This usually happens when you vape the same flavor day in and day out. This is exacerbated by chain vaping sessions.
We are constantly bombarded by sensory information around us. At any given second, you are processing information relating to what you see, touch, hear, smell, and taste. A lot of this happens even without you thinking about it. To deal with this constant overload of sensory information, our body has developed multiple mechanisms to help us adapt and to tune out the unnecessary white noises.
For example, you walk into a smelly room. At first it was so smelly that you wanted to leave right away, but after a few minutes you don’t even notice the smell anymore. Or maybe you went to a rock concert and the next day you had a hard time listening to normal conversations. Or you turn off the lights at night, and it takes a few minutes before you can see in the dark. All of these examples are caused by sensory adaptation. It is just your body’s way of dealing with sensory overload.
There are a lot of different mechanisms of how sensory adaption works. They could work all the way down at the receptor level, at the cellular and neuronal level, or even at the higher brain level. Depending of the mechanisms involved, the senses can return to normal very quick as in the case of adjusting to a dark room, or it might take longer in the case of returning from a rock concert.
Similarly, your body will readjust over time in the case of vaper’s tongue due to repeated exposure to the same flavor. This might take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. To prevent this from happening, try mixing up things a little bit by swapping between a few different flavors. This will prevent your body from treating the flavors as white noise. You can also try stimulating your taste buds by some other means like chewing gum, eating food that tastes different from your usual vaping flavors. There are some reports that people have had successes with stimulating their taste buds with extreme sensations like chewing lemon, eating very spicy food, or even chewing coffee beans. Though we can't say that we endorse these extreme measures, some people swear by them that they work miracles.
2. Dry mouth
Water is necessary for the taste receptors in our tongues to work as it provides a medium for molecules to reach the taste receptors themselves. One of the side effects of vaping is dehydration. If you vape a lot, chances are you have a dry mouth. The lack of saliva prevents the flavors from reaching the taste receptors and hence you will experience a loss of taste. In addition, a thin layer of film might develop around your tongue as you get a dry mouth while vaping. This thin layer further prevents flavors from reaching your taste receptors.
This is an easy fix as you can drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist while you vape. You can also use a tongue scraper or a tooth brush to clean your tongue of the thin film that might have developed when your mouth was dry.
3. Common cold
Believe it or not, there is actually a lot more going on to flavor perception that just the sense of taste. Your other senses all contribute together toward the perception of flavors. In particular, olfaction plays a very big role in flavor perception. So if your nose is blocked during a common cold or a flu, everything will taste dull to you.
The good news is once you recover from the cold and when your nose start working again, your sense of “taste” should return to normal.
Some of you might be dual users, who vape and smoke at the same time. Unfortunately, smoking is known to destroy your taste buds which leads to a dull sense of taste. Fortunately, your taste buds constantly regrow in about every two weeks. So if you still haven’t given up your cigarettes, now it’s time to do so!
On the contrary, vaper’s tongue could also happen to new vapers who had just given up smoking. This happens because years of smoking has destroyed your sense of taste, so when you finally quit, your sense of taste slowly awakens. All of a sudden you begin to experience the different kinds of taste at a level that you have not experienced in years. This sensation can be very intense and cause your sense of taste to temporarily shut down (see sensory adaptation above). This can happen a few times in your journey to quitting, and should happen less and less frequent over time as your regain your sense of taste that was lost to cigarette smoking.
If you are experiencing vaper's tongue, don't worry. It happens to a lot of vapers. The most common causes for vaper's tongue are all fairly innocuous, and the fixes are easy. If you use the same flavor day in and out, have a dry mouth, have a cold, or still smoke a cigarette here and here, you're bound to experience some degrees of vaper's tongue at some point. In most cases, you'll recover in just a few hours if you leave it alone, though some cases it might last longer. To speed up your recovery and prevent vaper's tongue from happening in the future, try alternating between different flavors, drink lots of water, and quit smoking. The bottom line is that with a little bit of time and some easy fixes, your taste buds should come back to life again and you'll be able to experience your favorite flavors again!