Tongue Piercing, Recognizing the Dangers and Tips for Safe Doing it

Tongue piercing is a form of self-expression that is quite popular among teenagers. Behind aesthetic reasons, tongue piercing can be dangerous for health, especially dental and oral health. Before deciding to get a tongue piercing, you should first understand the risks and safety.

The tongue piercing process is done by piercing the tongue using a needle to make a small hole. After that, jewelry in the form of a ring or small circle will be inserted into the hole.

When jewelry penetrates soft tissue, tongue piercings can pose more of a risk than piercings on other parts of the body, such as ears or nose. This is because tongue piercings are more difficult to care for and piercings are more likely to become infected.

Beware of the Various Dangers of Tongue Piercing

Tongue piercings can initially cause pain, swelling, and excessive drooling. In addition, there are many dangers that lurk due to tongue piercing, namely:

1. Infection

The mouth naturally contains millions of bacteria which can easily cause infection, pain and swelling. Tongue piercings can become infected for many reasons, such as poor quality jewelry, unsterile tools, or frequent touching of the piercing area with dirty hands.

If not treated promptly, an infected and swollen tongue can block the airway and restrict breathing. In more serious cases, the bacteria can even enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation of the tissues in the heart.

2. Allergic reactions

Apart from infection, allergic reactions in the piercing area can also occur. This condition can be experienced by people who are sensitive to certain types of metals used as piercing decorations. So, you should be careful when choosing jewelry for piercings.

3. Prolonged bleeding

Piercings on the tongue can trigger bleeding when the blood vessel is punctured by the needle during the piercing process. Bleeding is sometimes difficult to control, because there are many blood vessels in the area.

To stop bleeding, you can apply firm pressure to the piercing area and lower your head so that blood is not swallowed. If there is a lot of blood coming out and doesn't stop, immediately go to the hospital emergency room to get medical help.

4. Injured gums and cracked teeth

Biting or playing with piercings can also injure the gums and cause cracked, scratched, or sensitive teeth. Teeth can even chip and break if you bite too hard on the piercing, either intentionally or not.

Therefore, people who have piercings on their tongue need to have regular dental checkups at the doctor. This aims to monitor the health of the teeth and gums and ensure that tongue piercings do not cause damage to the teeth.

5. Hard to chew and easy to choke

Tongue piercings can provide new sensations, so they need time to get used to them. At first, tongue piercings can make it difficult to speak, especially if the area is still swollen.

Not only that, people whose tongues are pierced also find it difficult to chew because they are not used to it. If the piercing is accidentally removed and swallowed, there is a risk of choking.

6. Damage to the nerves of the tongue

After being pierced, the tongue usually experiences numbness due to temporary nerve damage. However, this nerve damage can become permanent. Injured nerves can affect the tongue's ability to taste.

Safe Tips for Tongue Piercing and How to Take Care of It

Please note, not everyone can do piercing safely. People with certain health conditions are advised to avoid piercings, such as people with heart disease, diabetes, hemophilia, and autoimmune diseases.

Due to the many dangers it can cause, tongue piercing is still not recommended. However, if you feel you really need to do it to support your appearance, it's important to take safe steps to reduce the risk of the various dangerous conditions above.

Here are some tips for doing tongue piercing:

  • Choose a piercing facility that is clean and well-managed.
  • Look for a piercer who is licensed, meaning specially trained.
  • The piercer should wash their hands with soap, put on new disposable gloves, and use sterilized or disposable instruments before starting the piercing.
  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis B and tetanus.
  • Choose jewelry made of 14 carat gold, titanium, or platinum.
  • Avoid nickel-based jewelry for people who are allergic to nickel.
  • Make sure the jewelry you use is the right size, not too small or too big.

Tongue piercings generally take between 6–8 weeks to heal completely. The length of the healing process will depend on how you care for the piercing.

In order for a tongue piercing to heal quickly, it is important to maintain good dental and oral hygiene. There are several ways to care for tongue piercings that can be applied, namely:

  • Brush your teeth 2 times a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing.
  • Rinse the tongue piercing after every meal or snack and before going to bed. Use warm salt water or an antibacterial and alcohol-free mouthwash.
  • If necessary, remove the piercing before eating, sleeping or exercising.
  • Check with your dentist regularly to prevent dental and gum health problems that can arise.

During the healing process, you are also advised not to smoke, not to drink alcoholic beverages, and not to consume hot drinks.

After the tongue has healed completely, it is best to remove the piercing and clean it with a toothbrush every day, for example before going to bed. Follow any specific piercing cleaning instructions that are usually provided.

Don't hesitate to contact the person who pierced you if you have questions about the results, special aftercare, and healing time.

If the tongue piercing shows signs of infection, such as the tongue getting swollen, red, sore, and pus coming out, immediately consult a doctor to get the right treatment.

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