Dangers of tongue piercing highlighted

People who have their tongues pierced are at risk of chipped teeth, recessed gums, nerve damage and in some cases, developing a 'second tongue', dentists have warned.

According to a report in the journal, General Dentistry, the 'barbell' type stud used in tongue piercings can lead to the development of a 'mini tongue'.

The report provides details of a young woman who developed a large, round lump beside her piercing. While the lump did not hurt and was not infected, it was growing.

It was determined to be scar tissue formation. Improvement was noted after the woman increased her level of oral hygiene, which involved frequent use of mouthwash. She also had the barbell stud replaced with a shorter version.

"Keep the wound clean. Make sure the bar is short so food and bacteria won't enter the site and replace the metal barbell heads with plastic", said Dr Ellis Neiburger, lead author of the report.

While this was recognised as an extreme case, the report noted that there are some very common dangers associated with tongue piercing. For example, if a patients is not instructed to avoid touching the piercing, they might spread infections with their own fingers.

The report also noted that patients often do not see the relation between tooth fractures and chippings and piercings, despite the fact that the damage is almost always in the middle teeth, parallel to the piercing.

It added that the best way to prevent damage is to avoid getting your tongue pierced.

General Dentistry is the journal of the American Academy of General Dentistry.


nk - 20/03/2006 22:52

nine years ago I had a carcinoma removed from my tongue, I was not a drinker or smoker and just 36 years old, please please think before u dissfigure what u were born with, I had to learn to speak again and cannot imagine why anyone would want to suffer the awful pain u get with any interferance on this part of your body

Shay - 11/04/2006 14:36

I believe that tongue rings are not all that bad i have had mine for almost three years and nothing badd has happen to me yet. but then again you never know i could have it for 30 years and nothing happen or 25 years and end up with no teeth. all in all i think if a person wants to priece their tongue let them.

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