Although tongue piercing is popular among enthusiasts of body modification, it can present serious risks to physical and dental health. While common issues with tongue piercings such as drooling or slurring of speech are not unhealthy, there are some possibly dangerous side effects that should be considered before a tongue piercing is performed. These include:
The mouth provides the perfect environment in which bacteria can thrive. A piece of jewelry in the mouth allows bacteria to grow on and around its surface. This could lead to bacterial infections that could affect the teeth and gums, causing periodontal disease, or become systemic, and spread throughout the body. A local infection could also cause the tongue to swell, which may affect breathing or swallowing.
The metal in the stud or other adornment placed through the tongue may cause an allergic reaction in those who have a preexisting sensitivity to a specific metal. An allergic reaction could cause the tongue or throat to swell, blocking the airways.
If the piercing would become dislodged, or a piece of the object break away, choking could result. This could be especially dangerous if it happens when an individual is asleep.
The act of piercing the tongue may lead to permanent nerve damage, which can cause numbness and affect control of the tongue and awareness of its position in the mouth. This may lead to further trauma to the tongue if it is bitten severely because of decreased sensitivity.
Trauma to the gums
Because the tongue moves frequently, the constant friction of the piercing against the gums may result in a gradual deterioration of the gums. This may leave the gums more vulnerable to gum disease from bacterial infections, as they become separated from the teeth and pockets form, and bacteria begins to grow under the gum line.
Damage to teeth
Chipped, cracked, or loosened teeth can result from an individual inadvertently biting down on a tongue piercing. This can be in the form of hairline cracks that are not readily noticeable, or can cause trauma that is severe and painful enough to necessitate a visit to an emergency dentist.
Before you consider getting your tongue pierced, you should consult with a dentist like Bracker Susan, who will explain possible outcomes that you may not have considered.
Fashion can sometimes cause discomfort, but when it becomes a risk to health, it may be wiser to try a different fashion statement.