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Oral (Tongue And Lip) Piercing: Risks, Dos, Don’ts And Self-care Tips

You must have seen your friends or colleagues who have done tongue piercing and you might be thinking that it looks so stylish. But before you think of doing one for yourself you should know that tongue piercing comes with many risks. Yes, that's right. This article will talk about the risks and the dos and don'ts of tongue piercing.

What Is Oral Piercing?

It is the piercing of the oral cavity by inserting objects such as rings, studs or pins where both ends of the jewellery are confined to the oral cavity.

There are several types of oral piercings. Tongue piercing is the most common one among the youngsters. It is done by making a small hole in your tongue, lips, cheek or uvula (the flesh that hangs in the back of your throat) and a piece of ball-shaped, cone-shaped or cylindrical-shaped jewellery is inserted in it. Titanium, steel, acrylic and niobium are some of the jewellery materials used for tongue piercing [1].

The most common form of piercing is the barbell piercing which is done by piercing in the midline of the tongue. Tongue piercing is also done on the anterior part of the tongue [1].

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Risks Of Tongue Piercing

Tongue piercing causes pain, swelling, haemorrhage and infections like bacterial endocarditis due to the trauma in the mucous membranes. And postoperative complications of tongue piercing include dysphonia (hoarse voice), dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), difficulty in chewing and contact dermatitis.

Chronic postoperative consequences of oral piercing have been reported such as prolonged bleeding, hyperplastic tissue, hematoma (collection of blood outside the blood vessel), widening of the piercing hole, formation of scar tissues, etc [2], [3].

If sterile equipment is not used, tongue piercing can also increase the risk of infectious diseases such as hepatitis B, C, D, HIV, tetanus and tuberculosis [4].

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There are many things that you can do before getting a piercing. Here, we've listed down the dos and don'ts of tongue piercing.

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Dos And Don’ts Of Tongue Piercing

Dos

• Choose a qualified piercing professional.

• Ask your friends or people with oral piercing about their experience.

• Know about the procedures of oral piercing.

• The piercer should keep their hands clean, wear fresh disposable gloves and use sterilised tools.

• Clean your mouth thoroughly before getting an oral piercing.

• Choose the right jewellery [5].

• Inform your piercing professional whether you are on medications or have any sort of allergies [5].

• Ensure that you are fit and healthy and don't have a common cold before you go for piercing.

• After piercing, drink cold liquids on the first day and then eat soft foods for few days.

• Apply ice for 30 minutes five times a day.

• Rinse your mouth with a mouthwash after the first day for five times a day for the first ten days.

• Brush and floss your teeth twice a day.

• Rinse your mouth properly after every meal.

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Don’ts

• Don't drink alcohol, caffeinated and fizzy drinks.

• Avoid smoking.

• Avoid putting your hands in the mouth to limit the spread of germs.

• Do not drink hot beverages like tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

• Avoid the intake of aspirin.

• Avoid kissing or engaging in other oral activities.

• Don't use a harsh mouthwash.

• Don't use tongue scrapers.

• Avoid playing with your jewellery.

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What Should A Professional Piercer Check before Piercing?

A professional piercer will locate your blood vessels with the help of a blue light. This will help them to know the positioning of your blood vessels to prevent them from damage.

The piercing should never be too close to your teeth and tip of the tongue. The jewellery is then inserted from the dorsal (top surface of the tongue) to the ventral (under surface of the tongue) surfaces of the tongue [3].

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Self-care Tips After Tongue Piercing

The healing process takes six to eight weeks and during this time you should keep the following things in mind:

• Practice good oral hygiene.

• Go for regular dental check-ups.

• Replace your jewellery with another one.

• Watch out for signs of infections like redness, swelling, a bad mouth odour, rash and fever.

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Who Shouldn’t Get A Tongue Piercing?

• If you have a bleeding disorder or taking blood-clotting medications.

• Pregnant women

• If your skin scars badly.

• If you have an open wound.

• If you recently had a dental surgery.

• People with an immune disorder.

• People who have problems in the heart valves [3]

To Conclude...

Choose a true licensed piercing professional if you are thinking of doing an oral piercing. If you experience continuous bleeding and other serious infections, consult a doctor right away.

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