Piercing the tongue has a long history in religious and performance practices. It was performed as a part of ritual in both Aztec and Maya cultures. Priests used to pierce their tongue and then either allow drawing blood from it or passing rough cords to honor the gods. Now a days tongue piercing has become style among youngsters. We can see many youngsters having other parts of body pierced apart from tongue such as naval, lip and etc. According to a survey, 16% of the females and 4% of the males at a New York university have pierced tongues. These numbers are just from the New York!
Tongue piercing might be a fun for some people, but a recent study reflects safety concerns of dentists with this growing trend of piercing tongue.
What does the study say about tongue piercing?
The study was led by Sawsan Tabbaa, an assistant professor of orthodontics at the University at Buffalo. Dr. Tabbaa investigated the case of 26- year-old female patient who complained that a large space had developed between her upper central incisors or upper front teeth. The patient had a tongue piercing that held a barbell-shaped tongue stud inserted seven years earlier. Stud is a term commonly used by people with tongue piercings to describe the habit of pushing the metal stud up against and between their upper front teeth.
Dr. Tabbaa says that people with tongue piercing generally develop a habit of playing with the tiny barbell-shaped stud, pushing it against the upper front teeth. Though gradually, but before...
you know it forces a gap between those teeth. It might take six months to couple of years to have some remarkable gap between the teeth. In any event, a fraction-of-an-inch gap may cost thousands of dollars in orthodontic bills.
The case study is published in the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics.
Previous studies have also documented the problems associated with oral piercing including excessive bleeding, infection, swelling, scarring, injuries to the mouth and teeth and periodontal disease. Dr. Tabbaa advises -“The best way to protect your health, your teeth and your money is to avoid tongue piercing.”
Fashion is good, but up to a certain extent and I think by tongue piercing youngsters are pushing the envelope. I have noticed that it affects ability to speak clearly and researcher shows other ill effects including gap between the teeth. If you feel real passionate about piercing your tongue, you may consider putting the stud for a short period and may want to follow up with your dentist to avoid long term problems.