Tongue Piercing – How Safe Is It?

Tongue piercings are quite popular in today's world, however before you decide to get one (and if you already have one), there are important things you need to know.

What is tongue piercing?

  • A tongue piercing is a type of body piercing which is usually done directly through the centre of the tongue.

  • It’s very popular amongst young people including males and females and may be considered as a way of self-expression.

  • Beaded jewellery that may be made of many decorative materials can be worn on these piercings.

tongue piercings takes 4 weeks to heal

Types of tongue piercings

  • Traditional piercing: The placement for a tongue piercing along the mid line of the tongue, in the centre of the mouth.

  • Tongue frenulum piercing: A piercing through the frenulum underneath the tongue. It’s also known as the “tongue web piercing”.

  • Venom bites: Two tongue piercings placed side by side on the tongue.

  • Angel bites: Two piercings in the tongue with one placed right in front of another.

  • Snake eyes: One curved bar going horizontally through the tip of the tongue.

Risks associated with tongue piercings

  • Infection: The mouth is a moist environment loaded with bacteria. The wound created by the piercing encourages these bacteria to colonize and cause infection. In extreme cases, the infection could get into the bloodstream and affect the heart, causing an inflammatory condition called “infective endocarditis”.

  • Swelling: This tends to occur when healing is taking place. It becomes dangerous if the tongue swells so much that it extends to the throat and blocks the airway. This can lead to suffocation.

  • Nerve damage: If done wrongly, it could lead to nerve damage which could lead to numbness of the tongue and loss of ability to taste.

  • Jewellery Inhalation: The jewellery may become unscrewed on one or both ends and can be choked on. The jewellery could be aspirated into the lungs or into the digestive system, causing tears.

  • Damage to gums and teeth: The jewellery can rub against the gums, causing injury. The jewellery could also constantly hit the teeth or fillings in the mouth. This can crack the teeth and make them become sensitive.

tongue piercing health risk infections

If you already have a tongue piercing...

  • Keep the piercing clean and ensure to clean the mouth properly.

  • Avoid touching or turning the jewellery unnecessarily.

  • Avoid sharing jewellery with friends.

  • Be careful while talking and eating.

  • Avoid clicking the jewellery against the teeth.

  • Wash hands before checking the tightness of the jewellery periodically.

  • Remove the jewellery before sporting activities or exercise.

  • Lastly, visit a dentist regularly for check-ups and cleaning.

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