What is Vape Mouth?
The experience of Vape Mouth seems to be very subjective. Everyone describes it differently and the severity, frequency and duration seem to wander all over the place. It is different for everyone and I have summed it up in one definition based on hundreds of forum posts.
Vape Mouth is the nagging suspicion that you were sleepwalking last night and while sleepwalking, you broke into every house in the neighborhood and licked all the birdcages clean. Your face shut down in self defense.
The proper way to refer to Vape Mouth, or Vape Tongue – as it is sometimes called- is olfactory fatigue. And once you understand that the word ‘olfactory’ refers to your sense of smell, you have the key clue to understanding what is wrong and finding a way to correct it that works for you.
Vape Mouth sufferers report the common symptom of losing all sense of taste or smell, and in some cases an unpleasant taste or sensation is left in the mouth. Some people report a coating on the tongue, but that seems to be unrelated to olfactory fatigue and may actually be the result of incomplete or damp vape that leaves a residue on mouth surfaces.
A lot of theories abound as to why this seems to happen to people. One theory holds that once you quit smoking cigarettes, your sense of smell and taste start to recover. As it recovers, the receptors send increasingly intense signals to your brain until the entire network temporarily reboots to deal with the overflow. This leaves a null state for taste and smell that some people experience as unpleasant. Others report it as a numbness and that food just doesn’t taste right for a few days.
Another common theory is wrapped around the concept of dehydration. We are all chronically dehydrated anyway, and we all could use a bit more diligence in appropriate liquid intake. Some people claim that vapor absorbs ambient moisture and can contribute to the drying out of sensory tissue in the nose and mouth. Others claim that exhaling vapor exhausts more ambient moisture than is being taken in, and as a result, mild dehydration occurs.
All of these theories are anectdotal and should be taken with a grain of salt. There has not been any focused or scientific studies on the effects and consequences of vaping, and a result, we are just a pack of monkeys loudly speculating on what caused the itching.
However, the one theory that holds the most water is the theory of olfactory fatigue. Still anecdotal, but since the variety of cures that seem to be the most successful are based around this idea, it is likely to be the most useful to you.
For whatever reason, your nose shut down. Without a sense of smell, your sense of taste is crippled. The two are interrelated as far as the sensory input your brain can use is concerned. The cures for vape mouth are the techniques used by people who have to use their sense of taste and smell for a living. Essentially, you need to force a reboot of your olfactory system and bully it back into behaving properly.
A common and popular technique is to simply add a shock to your flavor routine. Your nose has become accustomed to what you are doing and has relegated it to background noise. Common suggestions range from changing juice flavors and rotating flavors regularly to briefly changing your eating habits for a few days. (switching from a boiled potato diet to Indian food for a few days will shock everyone with a sense of smell and anyone forced to sit next to you on the bus.)
Ginger or sour foods are popular as well and work for some people, but the one technique with the highest reported success rate is the huffing of coffee grounds. Simply open a can of Folgers and stick your face over it and inhale. Apparently something impressively scientific happens with the reaction of the fine particles given off by coffee grounds and the receptors in your nose.
Sadly, all the cures and advice do not have medical studies to back them up. All the advice is based on what seems to work for people. And the techniques that seem to work for the most people are the techniques that get spread as advice, no matter how ridiculous it sounds. And we, as a community are rationalizing theories to sound confident in why they work. We don’t really know why it works, just that it does. This is how witchdoctors are created.
It will go away in a few days anyway. Use the advice at your own risk. Be careful and do not trust your health to witchdoctors.