Vaper’s tongue: what is it and how to alleviate the symptoms?

The greatest symptoms of vaper’s tongue are the loss of taste and smell. The olfactory sense and your taste buds work together for a complete perception of flavor. The taste buds distinguish the five tastes: sweet, bitter, sour, salty and umami. However, different flavors of the same taste type can only be distinguished by smell. Without the smell, the pure flavor of a sweet apple would taste little different from that of a sweet pear. And since vaping has no texture per se, the main identifying characteristics are taste and aroma. The final reason why many vapers have taste problems may be due to smoking. If you haven't quit smoking recently, and especially if you still smoke, your ability to taste fully will be impaired. Smoking takes a toll on your oral health and affects your sense of smell and taste. Fortunately, your sense of taste and smell can recover over time.

Steam increases the growth of oral bacteria

An in vitro experiment which consisted in exposing cultures of Candida albicans bacteria to the steam of electronic cigarettes and in sheltering other cultures of these same germs from these vapors. The results show that the cultures exposed to nicotine show a growth in the size of the bacteria but also in its pathogenicity: an increase in the growth of C. albicans was observed with electronic cigarettes compared to non-exposed cultures. Following exposure to electronic cigarette steam, C. albicans produced high levels of chitin. Electronic cigarettes also increased the length of C. albicans. Exposed to electronic cigarette smoke, C. albicans adhered better to epithelial cells. More worrisome still, Canadian researchers have shown that electronic cigarettes increase the expression of various genes called "secreted aspartic proteases" or SAP SAP2, SAP3 and SAP 9 that contribute to the growth and virulence of Candida albicans. 

Mitigating the symptoms of vaper’s tongue

  • Drink more water: increase your water consumption, especially if you vape often, and it's good for your health.
  • Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake: drinks containing caffeine or alcohol that dry out the mouth are diuretic and can lead to dehydration.
  • Use an oral moisturizer that helps with oral hygiene. These products come in a variety of forms: mouthwash, spray, toothpaste, night gel.
  • Clean your tongue: Keep your tongue clean to ensure good results. Don't forget to brush your tongue!
  • Stop smoking: it's the best way to fight vaper’s tongue and improve the sense of taste.
  • Take longer breaks between puffs: If you are a chronic puffer, this will affect your taste and smell receptors. One way to reduce vaping time is to increase your nicotine levels. Higher nicotine levels should satisfy you for longer periods of time without needing another hit. If you don't want to increase your nicotine level, simply take longer breaks between your vaping breaks to allow your taste buds to rest.
  • Changing juices: If you keep vaping the same flavor all the time, it will end up being less vibrant than when you started. The olfactory sense cannot tune in to a single aroma for too long.
  • Try a menthol or refreshing flavor: menthol does not need a smell or taste to be perceived. Menthol activates the thermo-receptors, so you can smell it in your eyes or on your skin. Menthol vapes can help you reset your taste buds and give you a change of pace from your typical fruity and dessert flavors.
  • Flavorless Vapor: The flavorless vapor base is another smart way to overcome the tongue of the vaporizer. It's like taking a break from vaping, but without doing it. The flavorless electronic juice doesn't have much taste - just a slight sweetness - so you won't miss any flavor.

What should I do if vaper’s tongue persists?

If vaper’s tongue persists and you have tried all methods, there may be a more serious underlying problem. Many vapers take medication and dry mouth is a common side effect for many of them. Commonly prescribed medications used to treat depression, anxiety, allergies, colds and many other common illnesses can all cause dry mouth. Even if you've never had a dry mouth before, it could be the result of your medication combined with the spraying that eventually caused it. Consult a doctor or your dentist if your problem persists.
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