To many young people, piercing the tongue is very attractive. However, most of them are unaware that there are a number of risks that are health related and are associated with tongue piercing.
Tongue piercing involves punching a hole in the tongue and placing a decorative metal stud through the hole. The tongue has numerous nerve endings and thus piercing may make it swell and become very painful. This could hinder one’s ability to eat and talk with ease. Also, severely swollen tongues can bock a person’s airway. Nerve damage can lead to a tongue that experiences constant pain, constant tingling or a tongue that has no feeling. This lack of nerve input to the brain can cause difficulty in swallowing, chewing, tasting and speaking. It can also cause the tongue to be bitten very frequently and makes it difficult to realize when the tongue is swollen or infected.
Infection is also a danger that results from tongue piercing. The mouth has a number of different bacteria residing in it. Most of these bacteria can cause a nasty infection in any open would. Good oral hygiene alone cannot insure an infection free tongue piercing. Alcohol containing mouthwashes will cause burning and irritation of the wound. Allergic reactions can also occur if the stud is not pure metal.
Tongue and lip piercing also affects teeth and gums. Teeth can become cracked and/or chipped from the metal stud or barbell moving around inside the mouth. This can cause the teeth to become very sensitive by exposing their nerves. The teeth will then require very extensive and expensive treatment such as root canal therapy, posts and crowns.
Teeth that fracture down into the roots ill need to be extracted and then replaced by implants or fixed bridges, the most expensive restorative treatments in dentistry. The gum tissue may also be damaged by continuous contact with the metal stud. This can lead to gum treatments and even surgeries.
There is also a great risk of jewelry aspiration. Jewelry that becomes loose in the mouth can become a choking hazard and, if swallowed, it can result in injury to the digestive track or lungs.
The best way to avoid all these hazards is by not getting our tongues pierced in the first place and if you do, you should remove the bar as soon as possible and allow the tongue to heal.