Body piercing is seen mainly in adolescents and young adults, and involves piercing of the tongue, lips, cheeks, nose, eyebrows and the erogenous zones. Glorified in movies such as "Pulp Fiction," and considered "hip" by its advocates, body piercing presents considerable dental and medical risks.
The main dangers involved with piercing are the risk of mouth infection, metal allergy and bleeding. In fact, The National Institute of Health has identified piercing as a possible route for the transmission of hepatitis. In the case of oral piercing, the bacteria-rich mouth can cause an infection in the piercing site. Untreated, the infection could cause swelling to the throat and prevent a person from breathing. Oral piercing can also cause damage to the teeth, interfere with speaking or swallowing, or cause an allergic reaction or breathing complications if the jewelry is swallowed.
Piercing is a popular part of our culture. Proper sterilization techniques and the use of gold jewelry can reduce the risks of infection and metal allergy. Body piercing should be approached with extreme caution and avoided in the tongue, cheek or lips.
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