Wanting To Get Your Tongue Pierced? Get the Facts
What's next after you've pierced your ears, your eyebrows, your lips, your nose, and your navel? Why, getting your tongue pierced, of course! Body piercing seems to have become the newest controversy in body art. While teens continue to view it as a form of personal expression, the rest of the world (especially those related to you!) finds it shocking and worries about its health risks. Teens have always chosen to update their styles in ways that aggravate their parents —long hair, '60s outrageous clothing, beehives, white lipstick —but the piercing of 2001, especially getting your tongue pierced, has health consequences worth considering. Getting your tongue pierced entails placing a barbell-like piece of stainless steel vertically through the midline of the tongue. A temporary stem is inserted at first to accommodate the tremendous swelling sure to follow. Later, this stem is replaced with a smaller, more permanent piece of jewelry. If this description of the procedure did not gross you out, then read BeingGirl's Top Ten Reasons why getting your tongue pierced might not be the best idea you ever had.
The mouth is full of all sorts of bacteria, so piercing any part of it can trigger some rather nasty infections. The moment you get your tongue pierced, bacteria are introduced into the blood. You also risk contracting hepatitis or HIV from an unsterilized needle, the same as with any tattooing or piercing. Dentists are seeing a lot of problems they never expected from people with their tongue pierced: broken teeth chipped while wearers are eating, sleeping, talking, and chewing on jewelry. Sometimes damage is limited to the enamel and all you need is a filling; sometimes it goes deeper, and you need a root canal or extraction. It's amazing no one has died from choking on loose jewelry. Most tongue jewelry consists of two parts that are screwed together. But what's screwed together can, and often does, come apart. Unlike an earlobe, the tongue is a muscular organ that's used constantly for speech taste and swallowing. Most tongues swell for a while —often as much as double their normal size —when they are punctured. A swollen tongue can interfere with breathing and infections under the tongue can spread rapidly. The tongue also is made up of blood vessels, arteries, nerves, and the lymph system running through it, making it more complicated to get your tongue pierced than other body parts. Tongue piercings can heal fully in a few weeks, but risk of infection can never be entirely eliminated. There is also the risk of allergic reaction if the stud is not made of gold, surgical steel, or titanium. Blood poisoning, hemorrhaging, blood clots, nerve damage, paralysis, staph infections, and toxic shock can result from getting your tongue pierced. Although the pain goes away and the swelling goes down, piercing leaves a hole in the tongue that is a lot larger than the pinprick involved with piercing your ears. It's like having an open wound in your mouth. The constant motion of the tongue makes it more difficult for the hole to truly heal. How long do you think it will be before tongue piercing is as over as having a string of five holes in your ears? If you've already pierced your tongue, just know the body has an amazing ability to heal itself. If you take out the jewelry, the hole will eventually close. If you decide to keep it in, make sure to keep the jewelry clean, don't wear it when you're sleeping or while you're eating, and never bite down!
Want to get your tongue pierced? Get helpful advice at BeingGirl.com.