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Tongue Piercing and Oral Jewelry

Oral jewelry can lead to chipped teeth.

Tongue piercing is all the rage with teens and young adults. Although some consider it hip and trendy, many are unaware that it can be harmful to their health -- especially their teeth. Dentists and hygienists are noticing an increase in trauma caused by metal-tongue jewelry.

The main risk is from the constant hitting of the metal stud against the teeth. This occurs whenever the tongue moves, as in talking, chewing or eating. Over time, this can result in a chipped tooth or a fractured tooth. Trauma to the tooth's pulp can eventually lead to root canal treatment and dental restorations.

In addition to dental problems, health problems can occur. Tongues usually heal quickly after piercing, but complications may arise. Swelling, painful irritation, arterial bleeding and oral infection are possible side effects. For persons with compromised immune systems, these conditions can be life threatening. The risk of complications are even greater when poorly trained operators do not use sterile equipment or procedures.

Other health hazards include having allergic reactions to the metal, possibly choking on a loose device, and getting blood-borne diseases such as tetanus and AIDS. A recent report indicates 20 percent of all admissions to VA Hospitals are Hepatitis C positive. Most of these patients have a history of tattoos and body piercing. It would seem logical that the federal government would impose regulatory control over these body surgeons, but to date no actions have been taken. In the future, Hepatitis C will kill more people than AIDS.

There have been studies encouraging the importance of tongue scraping. A majority of oral bacteria can be found on the tongue, and by using a tongue scraper much of it can be eliminated. A person wearing a tongue stud would find it virtually impossible to use a tongue scraper effectively, thereby leaving behind bacteria which can cause future problems.

Remember, only a dentist can diagnose your dental problems and offer the right treatment plan for you. If you need a dentist, call us at 1-866-970-0441 to be connected with one today.

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