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​Vaper’s Tongue - What is it and How to Fix it?

24th Feb 2021

Woman With Unhealthy Vaper's TongueVaper’s tongue can happen to anyone without warning. While it's initially a shock to the system losing the taste of your favourite e-liquid suddenly, or even gradually, the issue is frequent among vapers. Taking from a couple of days up to a few weeks to cure, remember it’s not permanent! In the meantime, vaping will slowly begin to lose flavour unless you try every trick in the book to fix it. Below we explain everything related to the subject - including how vaper’s tongue affects the vaping community in different ways. Plus, simple remedies and shortcuts you can use to reduce and eventually remove the strange sensation completely, so it’s possible to resume vaping.

What is Vaper’s Tongue?

This phenomenon happens to vapers of all levels, with multiple causes behind it. The term ‘vaper’s tongue’ started creeping into general discussion among users of the smoking cessation tool because it felt too much like a layer formed on the tongue, which will temporarily block the enjoyment of different flavoured e-liquids. Everybody has a different go-to e-liquid that they vape on often. If you're an enthusiast of menthol, for example, use it frequently and it suddenly loses all taste, it's natural to be concerned.

Vaper's tongue can occur among regular vapers, as well as casual. It doesn't matter what e-liquid you put in your vape mod or vape pen, or even how much nicotine you use. What’s important is recognising the dilemma and addressing it head-on as quickly as possible. If you find you tick some of the boxes below and the list of fixes still doesn’t solve the problem, it may be something medically wrong, meaning you should speak to a doctor.

Scientific Explanation

So how does vaper’s tongue occur to one of the strongest muscles in the body? We have five key taste receptors, which activate our palette in different ways. These are:

  • Umami (commonly known as savoury)
  • Sweet
  • Bitter
  • Salt
  • Sour

All e-liquids awaken your senses in one way or another until the vaper's tongue strikes a blow to the experience. Each person’s tongue is layered with little bumps called papillae. They each have hundreds of taste buds, so depending on how many papillae you have, that can mean between 2,000 and an astounding 10,000 taste buds. You can see why it’s a minor shock to the system when all taste temporarily disappears.

But it’s not just your tongue that plays a part in the frequently misunderstood ‘vaper’s tongue’. Your nose also features heavily in your ability to taste e-liquids ranging from Tobacco to Lemon Tart Shortfills. This is because of the olfactory sense, which is divided into two sections - the main system recognises substances in the air and the accessory system is attributed to fluid-phase stimuli. Your taste and smell senses work together closely to ensure you achieve maximum enjoyment from things like food and aromas in the air. Any problems with this such as blockages to pathways that go between your olfactory and the brain will lead to four main smell disorders:

  1. Parosmia - any changes to smell i.e something nice suddenly smelling bad.
  2. Hyposmia - ability to smell reduces due to factors such as age.
  3. Phantosmia - sensation of an odour that doesn’t exist.
  4. Anosmia - somebody who can not sense smell at all. This could be due to a problem since birth.

How Do You Get Vaper’s Tongue?

Dehydration

This is one of the most common reasons for vaper’s tongue. The body is roughly 75% water, so if you starve

Man Dehydrated Drinking Water

yourself of it, it will start to shut down. How you taste and enjoy different flavours is affected when you consume less water. That parched feeling doesn’t just exist on a hot summer's day! It can just as easily happen when you vape because of the key ingredients in your e-liquids - Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerine.

PG in particular leads to dry mouth because it is hygroscopic, meaning the molecules from PG bond with the water molecules in saliva, drawing the moisture more from your mouth, leading to thirst. Nevertheless, it can still happen when you vape pure VG e-liquids too, so always keep water handy to hydrate between vapes.

Cigarettes

If you have recently given up smoking, good for you, as multiple studies show how quickly your body can change for the better once you stop smoking. It’s a tough task to remove from your life completely, because of the high level of nicotine you’ve consumed since you started smoking. Nevertheless, vaping can help in multiple ways, including the ability to help reduce your nicotine levels.

As we know, cigarettes due to the inclusion of tobacco impact sense and smell massively, which will affect the taste of your vape. We advise attempting to remove it completely as soon as possible, avoiding smoking and vaping simultaneously as that may be causing vaper’s tongue.

Frequently Using the Same Flavoured E-Liquid

Whether you've just started vaping or a seasoned veteran, we’ve all been there. You just can’t get enough of the same flavour and don’t feel like changing anytime soon. And why would you? As the old proverb goes, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. But in this case, you need to, or face vaping tasteless e-liquids. Eventually, this will lead to switching back to smoking unless you're careful.

It happens because we like what is familiar and satisfies the taste buds. However, once the body and mind get used to a certain flavour for so long, the vaping flavour can often go. There is a simple solution to this problem, which can be found below in the remedy section.

Illness

Nobody is free of illness, especially during the cold winter months where our immune systems are weaker. Common colds, sinus issues and sore throats not only affect day to day life but the vaping experience. With sore throats, they can even happen if you do not have the right mixture of VG and PG or simply dry hit - which is when you try vape on a low e-liquid level.

When illness occurs, your sense of smell often struggles with a cold, leading to blocked airways that impact flavour.

Poor Dental Hygiene

Woman Brushing Teeth

You can get all sorts of problems if you do not take care of oral hygiene. It can lead to serious issues such as bacteria in the mouth, teeth decay and mouth ulcers if not taken care of. Not only could it cause pain and alter physical appearance, but also significantly reduce taste levels based on a number of studies, in particular among older people.

Other reasons for potentially getting vaper’s tongue include:

  • Drugs - either prescribed medically or illegal recreational could impact your senses
  • Stress
  • Old and expired e-liquids

Home Remedies for Vaper’s Tongue

  1. Drink more water. It sounds obvious, but it will allow you to feel more hydrated between each vape, as well as complimenting the bases of your e-liquid, PG and VG, which play a key role in the flavour of your vape. Keeping that dry throat at bay is important to enjoy the experience, meaning you will be less likely to return to vaping and achieve consistently high flavour.
  2. Mix up the e-liquids. Variety is the spice of life and it helps keep vaper’s tongue at bay by switching between e-liquids often. It may cost more to stock up, but at least you have lots of different options at your disposal. Alternating between savoury and sweet flavours is the way forward. However, remember to clean out your tank thoroughly before changing from Coffee to IVG Jam Roly Poly, or you will notice the difference!
  3. Give up cigarettes as soon as possible to not just improve your long-term health but ensure the taste from your vape pod or mod is not compromised. Switching to vaping will improve your mental health too, reducing tension and anxiety.
  4. Take your time between vaping. Chain vaping is common because people sometimes need a nicotine fix repeatedly. However, the last thing you want to do is damage your senses. If the flavour begins to go, simply put down your vape for a few hours or even a few days if possible and the taste will quickly return.
  5. A palate cleanse is sometimes needed, especially if you’re in the wine tasting business, or suffering from a spicy curry! We’ve not tried it at V2 Cigs, but apparently sucking on a lemon does the trick. Alternatively, smelling fresh coffee beans works wonders too.Woman Sucking Lemon to Cleanse Palate
  6. If you’re feeling under the weather, a simple home remedy goes a long way to quickly reduce your symptoms, nursing you back to health. Try hot water mixed with honey, lemon, garlic and cinnamon cloves to boost your olfactory system.
  7. Finally, keep the mouth hygiene in good order by remembering to brush the teeth twice daily, use a tongue cleaner if you have one, doing so gently where a layer of bacteria may have formed. Mouthwash can also help to give that cooling effect between vaping, reducing the chance of vaper's tongue and bad teeth. You have already made a great stride by switching from smoking to vaping, which improves your oral health because you have removed tobacco. This is one of the leading factors, causing bad breath and an increased risk of oral cancer, should you stick with cigarettes.