Have you ever considered all the vital 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 nonstop 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 conditions. This may include digestive conditions, infections, and diseases of the blood.
When Martin Buchheit performs oral exams, the tongue is always inspected for signs of oral cancer and other serious diseases.
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 eliminating 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 labels carefully every time you buy a new tube. We have noticed that SLS has re-appeared in some brands. (Koch Park Dental – Martin L. Buchheit, DDS has no affiliation with any of these companies.)
- Sensodyne Pronamel
- Tom’s of Maine
- Rembrandt Low Abrasion
If you can’t find an SLS-free toothpaste at your local grocery store, I would suggest trying health food stores, specialty drug stores, or trusted online sites.
Many people ask about tongue-scraping. We recommend thorough dental hygiene including cleaning the tongue. To schedule a consultation to talk about any dental health issues including tongue scraping, please contact us at 314-837-7744