Think Before You Pierce
Tongue piercing is a very trendy activity in today’s world. There are a number of different reasons that one may decide to get a tongue piercing. Among these reasons are enhancement of personal beauty and social status. As attractive as such rewards may seem in the present, there are potential long-term effects of tongue piercing that you may not be aware of. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the possible consequences of tongue piercing. You may find that the rewards may not necessarily be worth the risks.
Gum Disease and Broken Teeth
Did you know that people with piercings of the tongue (and lips) have a higher chance of developing gum disease?
The jewelry used for the piercing could injure the gums and/or cause the gum line to recede. Once the gum line recedes far enough, you may begin to experience difficulties such as loose teeth and/or tooth loss. In addition to the jewelry injuring the gums, it could also cause significant damage to your teeth. The metal from the jewelry could chip or crack your teeth. Even with porcelain studs, you run the risk of dental damage.
Swollen Tongues and Too Much Drool
Did you also know that having an object in your mouth increases saliva production? Having large amounts of saliva in your mouth may cause difficulty with swallowing, chewing, speaking clearly, and drooling. Nerve damage (numbness and loss of taste and sensation), allergic reaction to the metal, and even a blocked airway due to tongue swelling are also among the potential risks associated with tongue piercing.
Complications as a result of tongue piercing are not limited to the tongue, gums and teeth. Complications and risks of tongue piercing have the potential to affect the rest of the body as well. There is a heightened risk of developing an infection or contracting a disease from another person. The wound from the piercing makes it easier to catch such diseases as herpes simplex and hepatitis B and C. Endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart valves or tissues, is also a potential complication. If you have an undiagnosed, pre-existing heart condition and bacteria from your tongue piercing enters your blood stream, you could develop endocarditis.
The American Dental Association
is against tongue piercing because of its potential negative effects. However, if you still choose to get a tongue or oral piercing after educating yourself about the associated health risks, there are precautions you can take to decrease your risk of developing an infection.
Do NOT allow just anyone to pierce your tongue; do your homework. Before getting your piercing, make sure that all equipment is kept in sterilized packaging and that piercings are performed in a clean and orderly environment. If possible, have a friend who has not experienced any difficulty with his or her piercing recommend a place to get your piercing. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water, avoid tobacco products and observe basic oral hygiene after every meal. Pay attention to the piercing site. Symptoms such as yellow discharge, increased swelling and bleeding, or any sores near the piercing should be tended to immediately by a health care professional.