Piercings have become very popular in recent years but dentists have warned the public against the dangers of tongue piercings. All piercings carry a risk of infection because an incision is made in the tissue and bacteria tend to collect around studs and earrings.
What kind of damage can piercings do?
Tongue piercings can do a lot of damage in the mouth. The constant contact between metal and the tissues and structures in the mouth can cause damage, including chipped teeth and tooth pain.
Tongue piercings also increase the risk of infection in the mouth. According to dentists, the mouth is prone to infection and a large proportion of people who have their tongues pierced end up with an infection of some sort. Tongue piercings make it difficult to clean the mouth properly and they tend to attract plaque and bacteria. In some extreme cases, infection can be so serious that the tongue swells and blocks the airways, which can be life-threatening.
Tongue piercings can also result in damage to the nerves, which may affect the sense of taste and the ability to detect temperature. This means that people can burn themselves by eating or drinking very hot foods or liquids because they cannot determine the temperature.
Advice for people with piercings
Dentists and dental organisations strongly urge people against having tongue piercings, but if you do have a tongue piercing, it is very important that you keep the piercing as clean as possible and maintain good oral hygiene. Piercings are sites for infection and it is therefore essential to keep that area as clean as possible. If you do notice symptoms such as swelling, a change of colour of the tongue, bleeding or pain, arrange to see your doctor or dentist as soon as possible.
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