What is ‘vaper’s tongue’? Dentist warns of loss of taste and other side effects from vaping
Using strong e-liquid flavours may be to blame.
Many people smoke flavoured vapes, but did you know they can actually affect your tastebuds with a little-known condition called ‘vaper’s tongue’?
Also known as ‘vaper’s fatigue’, it refers to a loss or reduction in a person’s ability to taste flavours when vaping – and there are a few factors that cause it.
According to Dr Rhona Eskander, Dental Expert at dentalphobia.co.uk, olfactory fatigue is among the reasonings behind vaper’s tongue.
She tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Our sense of taste is closely linked to our sense of smell. When you vape the same flavour for an extended period, the olfactory receptors in your nose can become accustomed to that specific aroma.
‘As a result, you become desensitised to the flavour, and it may seem less pronounced or disappear temporarily.’
Similarly, if you use the same e-liquid flavour again and again (especially the stronger or more intense ones) this can dull your ability to taste, while the dry mouth that vaping often causes may play a part too, as ‘saliva plays a crucial role in tasting and helps distribute flavour molecules to your taste buds.’
Your individual perception of flavours and history of smoking also impact your chances of getting vaper’s tongue, so you may notice it after switching over from cigarettes or find you’re naturally more prone to the condition.
The good news is that it’s temporary and shouldn’t cause lasting damage. The bad news is that it could signal more serious issues.
‘Vaper’s tongue itself is not inherently dangerous; it’s more of an annoyance than a serious health risk,’ says Dr Rhona.
‘However, the concern with vaper’s tongue lies in the potential for it to mask other health issues. In some cases, persistent or severe taste issues might be indicative of underlying oral health problems or even systemic health issues.
‘Therefore, if a person experiences ongoing taste problems while vaping or using any other tobacco or nicotine products, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional or dentist to rule out more significant health concerns.’
To keep vaper’s tongue at bay, the advice is to stay hydrated, switch between different e-liquid flavours, or to ‘try smelling coffee beans or other strong, neutral scents to “reset” the olfactory senses.’
It’s also worth keeping an eye on the other symptoms your habit can cause.
‘Vaping can have several adverse oral health effects, including dry mouth (xerostomia) due to reduced saliva production, which can lead to an increased risk of cavities, gum inflammation, and mouth sores,’ explains Dr Rhona.
‘The ingredients in e-liquids, especially nicotine, can constrict blood vessels in the gums, contributing to gum problems, and potentially slowing down the healing of oral wounds.
‘While vaping is generally considered less harmful than traditional smoking, it’s not without risks to oral health, and some users may experience these issues.’
She recommends maintaining proper dental hygiene and staying hydrated to protect your mouth if you vape, as well as looking at other alternatives or quitting altogether if possible.
Regular check-ups can also catch problems before they escalate, but that one goes for everyone, not just those who vape.
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