Stick Out Your Tongue!

Las Vegas oral cancer examsAt Providence Dental in North Las Vegas we diagnose and treat conditions of the teeth and gums. These conditions affect the entirety of your dental health, including the tongue. Let’s talk about the tongue.

Have you ever considered all the critical things your tongue can do? It helps us talk, perceive the texture and flavor of food, chew, and swallow.

This strong and nimble gymnast is in near-constant motion during our waking hours. It is a wonder that we don’t accidentally bite it more often as we smile, chew, drink, breathe, swallow, cough, and laugh.

Your tongue can also reveal physical problems. This may include digestive problems, infections, and diseases of the blood.

Here are some tongue abnormalities and possible causes:

  • Swollen tongue: reaction to food/drink/medication, strep infection, leukemia, hypothyroidism
  • White tongue: dehydration, yeast infection, irritation to tobacco, enteritis, gastritis, colitis, anemia, or other nutritional deficiency
  • Canker sores: may be linked to stress or reaction to food, toothpaste, or mouthwash.

If you have persistent canker sores, you may want to try cutting out products that contain sodium lauryl (or laurel) sulfate (SLS). SLS is a cheap foaming agent that is found in many personal care products.

It can be difficult to find SLS-free dental products. The following brands have previously offered SLS-free versions, but read labels carefully every time you buy a new tube. We have noticed that SLS has re-appeared in some brands. (Providence Dental has no affiliation with any of these companies.)

  • Biotene
  • Sensodyne Pronamel
  • Tom’s of Maine
  • Rembrandt Low Abrasion

If you can’t find an SLS-free toothpaste at your local grocery store, try health food stores, specialty drug stores, or trusted online sites.

Some of our patients ask about tongue-scraping. We recommend thorough dental hygiene including cleaning the tongue.

At Providence Dental in North Las Vegas, the dental health of our patients is our top priority every day. Services include orthodontics and pediatric dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Providence Dental:


Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

7181 N Hualapai Way Ste 105
Las Vegas, Nevada


ArticleID 2249