What is Vaper's Tongue? Why is it happening?


July 25, 2018 2 Comments

Vaper’s tongue otherwise known as vaper’s fatigue is when a person can barely taste their e-juice flavor after a while. No need to worry friends, it’s quite common among vapers, and we’ll explain what causes it and how to fix it.

To explain this shared experience, here is a simple analogy:

You know that one friend whose house always has a particular smell but your friend doesn't notice? What your friend is experiencing is the same thing that happens with vapers who vape the same flavor after a while.

You might be wondering why this is happening?

Why is this happening? Vaper's tongue

This happens due to something called an Olfactory Fatigue. Olfactory fatigue occurs when you temporarily become immune to a specific smell after prolonged exposure.

If you’re wondering what your sense of smell has anything to do with tasting flavors, you’re on the right page!

Let’s roll!

 

What does smell have to do with taste?

 How does taste work? Olfactory bulb and gustatory system

The name vaper’s tongue is a misnomer among many things in the vape world like steeping e-juice and vape smoke.

Many falsely assume that your taste buds are solely responsible for the tasty glazed donut you might have eaten in the morning. However, your good old olfactory system or the nerve cells in your nose also play a role in being able to taste the flavor.

If you want to get sciencey, when you combine the gustatory system (taste buds) and your olfactory system (nose), you get what you call a chemosensory system going through a transduction process.

What this means is that you can taste because your brain can interpret different signals coming from the nerve cells in your nose, mouth, and throat. Thus, your mind is able to perceive flavor through the transduction process.

If you have tried eating while holding your nose, you’ll notice how dull your food tastes.

What’s even cooler is that researchers have found that your brain can taste food without having food touching your tongue. Your brain plays a huge role in how you can taste flavor.

Let’s talk about how your brain can cause you to experience vaper’s tongue or vaper’s fatigue.


What Causes Vaper’s tongue?

What causes vaper's tongue? Sensory Adaptation

There are many reasons why you may notice a change in your vape juice flavor but let’s go back to the smell analogy and how that can diminish your ability to taste your e-juice.

Taste fatigue aka Palate fatigue or Flavor fatigue is when the flavor of your e-juice becomes diminished after constant exposure. It is the same concept when smokers can’t smell the smoke on their clothes because they have gotten used to it.

What causes vaper’s fatigue is what scientists call Sensory Adaptation or Neural Adaptation.

As we discussed above, your brain is like a computer, and when you taste the food, your sensory receptors send signals to your brain so you can register the flavor.

However, after constant stimulation of the same taste or smell, your brain adapts to this stimulus which will decrease the intensity of the smell or taste over time.

Your sensory receptors will also adjust and reduce the rate of firing signals to your brain causing the flavor or aroma to fade over time.

Why does our brain do this?

 

Why does our brain do this? | Vaper's Tongue

 

Science does not widely understand sensory adaptation. However, researchers have speculated our brain does this as a survival mechanism. For example, we need our sense of smell to avoid dangers such as smoke, rotten food, or any changes of smell in our environment.

If our brain concludes that the smell is non-threatening, we naturally stop identifying the smell to reduce redundant information. In doing so, we can then focus on any other changes in the environment that may cause us harm.

Interestingly, researchers have found that being overly cautious of certain smells can make your nose more sensitive, allowing you to adapt more slowly to threatening smells.

If you’re vaping the same e-liquid flavor, you may experience vaper’s tongue due to sensory adaptation.

This may be the answer to the largely debated topic, but there may be other reasons for why you are experiencing vaper’s tongue.

What Are The Other Causes For Vaper’s tongue?

What are the other causes for vaper's tongue?

What are some other reasons besides sensory adaptation that may cause vaper’s fatigue?

Taste Disorders

Taste disorder is a condition characterized by a decrease in the sense of smell or taste, and up to 15% of adults have some sort of impairment. Majority of the taste disorders are developed after an injury or illness.

There are three main types of taste disorders:

  1. Hypogeusia is a partial loss of taste.
  2. Ageusia is a complete loss of taste, and it is incredibly rare. However, losing a sense of smell is more common.
  3. Dysgeusia is a distortion in taste of smell.

Common causes of these disorders are from chemotherapy, deficiency in zinc, and from the side effects of different medications.

Damaged Taste Buds

People are born with an average of 10,000 taste buds, and everyone can recognize the five tastes (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami), but not everyone will register the signals differently. When you have damaged taste buds, it can result in a temporary loss of taste. No need to worry though, taste buds regenerate every 1-2 weeks. However, when you start to age, you begin to lose your taste buds because your taste buds won't renew as well.

Taste buds can be damaged by:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Burns
  • Extreme cold
  • Dry Mouth
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Infections
  • Spicy Foods
  • Extreme sour foods
  • Certain Medications can affect taste receptors as well as how your brain receives signals.

Many smokers who quit smoking will regain their sense of smell and taste. Additionally, having a dry mouth will make it harder for the flavors to reach your taste buds.

Illness

Being sick can also result in decreased taste sensations. Here are some of the following illnesses that will affect your tasting and smelling abilities:

  • Stuffy Nose - remember, your nose affects your taste significantly
  • Strep Throat
  • Respiratory infections
  • Dental issues such as gum disease, tooth loss, and bad dental hygienist.

What Are Some Remedies for Vaper’s tongue?

What are some remedies for vaper's tongue?

Now that we know what may be causing your vaper’s tongue, you might be wondering how to cure it, right?

Unfortunately, there is no absolute way to fix it, but the good thing is to understand that these effects are temporary. It’s a common issue in the wine tasting community, perfume testers, and coffee testers, so let’s take their cue and see what possible remedies exist to fix vaper’s tongue!

Keep It Fresh By Adding Different Flavors To Your Rotation

Sticking to one flavor after a while will cause sensory adaptation, and you will not be able to taste the different flavor notes. One solution will be to add different flavor profiles to your rotation. Having different flavor profiles such as custard flavors, fruit flavors, and menthols will be a good way to avoid getting used to one flavor. Wine tasters will often start off with dry white wines and move up to heavier flavors to prevent taste fatigue.

Stay Hydrated and Drink Water

Being dehydrated will make it hard for the flavor to reach your taste buds. Saliva plays a vital role on your sense of taste as it chemically interacts with the food you’re eating. With dehydration being a side effect of vaping, it’ll be important to drink water more than usual.


Vape Strong Flavors

Many vapers in the community have resorted to using pure menthol flavors to refresh and shock the palate. Others have noted that menthol flavors take longer for your taste receptors to adapt and one of the many reasons vapers love menthol.


Dental Hygiene

Having poor oral hygiene will impact your ability to taste your e-juice, and you will notice a bad taste in your mouth. Making sure you have healthy gums and reducing the possibilities of infection by brushing your teeth and flossing will help immensely. Vapers have noted that using mouthwash and a tongue scraper also help in being able to taste your e-juice better. Using mouthwash is one way to refresh your palate although there may be a temporary loss in taste.


Quit Smoking and Don’t Dual Vape

Smoking contributes to having poor hygiene and quitting smoking can restore a clear sense of smell and taste. If you’re vaping and smoking, it can mute your e-juice flavor due to dehydration and damaged taste buds.


Take a Break

One way to avoid sensory adaptation is to let time take its course. If you’re vaping continuously, your taste receptors will get used to the flavor, and you will get vaper’s fatigue. There is a reason why wine tasters take a break between samples and eat crackers to cleanse the palate.


Palate Cleansing and Other Methods

If the above methods haven’t worked, here are some of the palate cleansing methods that many vapers have tried as a possible cure. They may or may not work but give these a try!

  • Smelling or inhaling the aroma of coffee beans is a popular method to reset the palate.
  • Pickled Ginger is often used as a palate cleanser when eating different pieces of sushi. Ordinary pickles should also work.
  • Unsalted crackers and cheese are also used in the wine tasting community to improve the taste of wine by making your palate more sensitive.
  • Sucking on a lemon for a few seconds or any tart or citrus flavor such as grapefruit can help cleanse the palate. Some vapers have sworn by this method so it may be worth the try.
  • Raw honey is another solution that worked for some vapers, and it may work to soothe the throat and possible cure vaper’s tongue.
  • Eating sorbet is also considered a palate cleanser often used in French cuisines between meals. Try a lemon sorbet to reset your taste buds.
  • Exercising increases blood flow, and it can help improve your sense of smell briefly. Perfumists do jumping jacks between sniffs to maintain their sense of smell. Not sure how that would relate to vaping but hey, a little exercise can't hurt.
  • Smelling the crook of your elbow and smelling your armpit may not be a pretty sight but perfumists do this between sniffings to get back to baseline. Try this in the privacy of your home!

The fundamental principle of palate cleansing is to reset your sensory adaptation, and although there are many ways to do it, it can’t hurt to experiment on what works best for you!


What Are Some Other Reasons Why Your Vape Juice Tastes Off?

What are some other reasons why your vape juice tastes off?

 

If your e-juice tastes differently, it may not even be due to vaper’s tongue. It can be related to a host of other factors that may come into play.

Let’s go through some other possible causes that may affect your e-juice flavor!


  • Burnt Coils - If you haven’t changed your coil in a while, this could be why your e-juice flavor doesn’t taste the same. Coils can accumulate gunk as well as become dry causing it to burn. It’s not a pleasant taste, and when it happens, it can severely affect the sharpness of the flavor.

  • Steeped E-juice - If you left your e-juice sitting for a while, this could also result in having a different flavor for the better or worse. If you don’t store your e-juice in a cool dark place, this can result in the nicotine oxidizing, giving it a peppery taste. For complex flavors like Custards, steeping e-juice will usually taste better as it ages.

  • Different Airflows and Temperature of your Vape - Airflows matter when it comes to flavor. Typically, the more restricted the airflow, you’ll get more of a concentrated flavor which can give you much more flavor. Setting your vape mod at different settings will also change the character of your e-juice.

  • Have you experienced Vaper’s tongue?

     

    What has worked for you?

     

    Share with us in the comments!



    2 Responses

    Brian From Ruthless
    Brian From Ruthless

    August 06, 2018

    Hey Jordan!

    I feels you on that man. Vaping custard flavors after a while exhaust your taste buds. The subtle layerings and back notes start to disappear, and it can be disappointing :(

    Brushing your teeth helps temporarily, but switching flavors are the best method for me as well. Interesting to hear your approach.

    Oh by the way, if you’re into custard flavors, check out our new Overloaded E-juice flavors: blueberry custard, banana custard, and vanilla custard!

    https://www.ruthlessvapor.com/collections/overloaded

    Thanks for sharing Jordan!

    Anyone else has a specific order of flavors to avoid vaper’s tongue?

    Jordan
    Jordan

    August 06, 2018

    I experienced vapers tongue when I first started vaping, all I vaped was custard. So Inswitched it up and brushed my tongue real hatd with toothpaste. Both helped tremendously, switch from creamy to fruity or sour.

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