Expert issues warning over Vaper's Tongue symptom to watch out for this Christmas
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Christmas is merely weeks away now and I'm sure many of us can't wait to bring on the festivities in the run-up to the big day.
One of which includes vaping, leading one dental expert to issue a stark warning over the Vaper's Tongue symptom to watch out for this Christmas.
The use of vapes has been shown to increase during the Christmas season, with people typically going to more events and therefore consuming more alcohol than usual.
However, any vapers out there need to be careful of a particularly nasty side effect attributed to vaping with Dr Rhona Eskander, a dental expert at Dental Phobia, revealing exactly what Vaper's Tongue actually is, how it affects your oral health and how you can prevent it from occurring.
Dr Eskander explains that Vaper's Tongue, also known as Vaper's Fatigue, refers to a loss or reduction in a person's ability to taste flavours when vaping.
Yep - you may want to think twice before taking a puff on that Blue Sour Raspberry vape if you're wanting to taste the full flavour palette of roast, crispy potatoes and sprouts smothered in gravy.
So, how does Vaper's Tongue come about?
Well, the expert explains, it can occur for several reasons when using vape devices one of which is known as olfactory fatigue.
Our sense of taste is closely linked to our sense of smell which means that, 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.
The overexposure to certain flavours coupled with the all-too-familiar dry mouth and dehydration every vaper has experienced can also lead to a reduced taste perception.
Going into a little more about the phenomenon, Dr Eskander says that Vaper's Tongue is not inherently dangerous.
"It's more of an annoyance than a serious health risk," they added. "It's a temporary and reversible condition where vapers experience a loss or reduction in their ability to taste flavours when using electronic cigarettes or vape devices.
"While it can be frustrating, it typically does not pose a direct danger to one's health."
The dental expert continued to note: "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."
OK - so is there a way to prevent it happening?
Dr Eskander suggests vapers switch to different e-liquid flavours, stay hydrated, and try smelling coffee beans or other strong, neutral scents to 'reset' their olfactory senses.
"It's usually a temporary and reversible condition, and with a few simple measures, most vapers can continue enjoying the flavours of their e-liquids," she added.
"If you have persistent or severe taste issues while vaping, it's a good idea to consult a healthcare professional or dentist to rule out any underlying oral health problems."
And it's clearly not just Vaper's Tongue people have to worry about.
Dr Eskander said: "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.
"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 she acknowledges that vaping is generally considered 'less harmful' than traditional smoking, the dental expert highlight it's not without risks to oral health.
She advised: "Maintaining proper oral hygiene, staying hydrated, and considering alternatives or quitting altogether are essential steps to reduce the potential oral health impact of vaping.
"Regular dental check-ups can help monitor and address any emerging problems."