Adolescent Dentistry

Tongue Piercing - Is It Really Cool?

Seeing people with pierced tongues, lips, or cheeks might not surprise you anymore, but you might be shocked to know how dangerous these jewelry pieces can be.

There are many risks involved in oral piercings, including:

  • Chipped or cracked teeth.
  • Blood clots.
  • Blood poisoning.
  • Heart infections.
  • Brain abscess. 
  • Nerve disorders (trigeminal neuralgia).
  • Receding gums or scar tissue.

Your mouth contains millions of bacteria, so infections are a common complication when you get oral piercings. Your tongue could even swell and become large enough to close off your airways!

Common symptoms after getting a piercing include pain, swelling, infection, increased saliva flow, and injuries to the gum tissue. If a blood vessel or nerve bundle gets in the way of a needle, you might also have trouble controlling your breathing and suffer from nerve damage.

Please follow the advice from the American Dental Association and give your mouth a break by skipping mouth jewelry.

Tobacco - Bad News in Any Form

Smoking and chewing tobacco can jeopardize your child’s health and cause irreversible damage. Teens often use smokeless tobacco, also known as spit, chew, or snuff, because they believe it’s a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, and this is an unfortunate misconception. Studies show that spit tobacco may be even more addictive than cigarettes and difficult to leave behind. Teens who use smokeless tobacco may be interested to know that one can of snuff daily delivers as much nicotine as 60 cigarettes. In as little as three to four months, smokeless tobacco use can cause periodontal disease and produce pre-cancerous lesions called leucoplakias.

If your child is a tobacco user, you should watch out for the following early signs of oral cancer:

  • A sore that won’t heal.
  • White or red leathery patches on the lips and on or under the tongue.
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or lips.
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw and tongue.
  • A change in the way teeth fit together.

Since early signs of oral cancer aren’t usually painful, people often ignore them. However, if you miss this condition in its early stages, it may require extensive and face-changing surgery or even be fatal.

Teach your child about the dangers of tobacco and help them avoid it in any form. By doing so, cancer-causing chemicals won’t come into direct contact with their tongue, gums, and cheeks.

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