If you’re planning an addition to your appearance, you might be better off spending money on a nifty pair of shoes than having your tongue pierced, say doctors.
Decades from now, your offspring might look at pictures of you with a slab of metal through your eyebrow, your Bad Religion T-shirt and barbed-wire tattoo and regard you as the most hip grandparent ever. But right now, some body piercing is seen as a health risk, not to mention a fashion risk.
Tongue piercing in particular, is regarded by many doctors as ill-advised, primarily because there’s a risk of infection. But another, lesser-known hazard of tongue piercing is that the chunk of metal stuck in your tongue will crack your back teeth.
Dentists at the University of Iowa say there are “significant risks” of dental damage caused by tongue bars. Their findings are published the journal Practical Peridontics and Aesthetic Dentistry.
It’s a view that’s echoed by Cape Town dentist Dr Martin Michalowsky, who strongly advises against tongue piercing.
“If you must have your tongue pierced, I’d recommend a plastic stud rather than a metal one. That’ll reduce the risk of damage to your teeth, but won’t reduce the likelihood of infection.
Dr Michalowski says he and his colleagues treat the damage caused by tongue studs “on a fairly regular basis.
“Most have chipped of broken their teeth when their stud became caught between them. We usually fix it with a filling or a crown.”
He adds that many anaesthetists now ask their patients ton remove their stud before being anaesthetized, to reduce the risk of choking while unconscious. William Smook – Health24 writer
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