Body piercing can cause unwanted consequences. As with any new fashion trend, young people rush to try it, and body piercing is no exception. But when young people pierce their tongues and lips they are risking numerous dental problems. Tongue piercing involves punching a hole in the tongue and placing a decorative metal stud in the hole. Due to the numerous nerve endings in the tongue, piercing can often result in severe swelling and pain, making eating and talking very difficult, not to mention that a severely swollen tongue can block a person’s airway. Infection is also real danger with tongue piercing. Allergic reactions may occur if the stud is not pure metal. Blood poisoning and blood clots are other potential concerns. And since the tongue is constantly moving, healing from tongue piercing is slow, sometimes up to a month. Tongue and lip piercing also affect teeth and gums. Teeth can become cracked or chipped from the metal stud or barbell moving around inside the mouth. Gum tissue may also be damaged by continuous contact with the metal stud. Extra dental care needs to be taken with pierced tongues. When brushing your teeth be sure to also brush your tongue. The barbell should be removed daily and thoroughly cleaned, although not with jewelry cleaner, warm water and soap will work fine. The hole in the tongue should also be rinsed with a small stream of water.
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