Tongue Piercing Tips

Getting a body piercing is quite the fashion statement these days. And according to most studies, the fifth most popular piercing in the modern world is on your tongue.

Tongue piercing has been practiced in regions like Africa, South America, and East Asia for centuries. It's only recently become a fad in the West, with modern tongue piercings getting their start in Los Angeles in the 1980s. It's become a popular way for teens and young adults to set themselves apart.

If you're thinking about getting a tongue piercing, you should how it works and what to expect. Reliable piercers run clean establishments, work with disposable gloves and an autoclave for tool cleaning, and usually belong to the Association of Professional Piercers. The piercer will check the tongue for a safe place to insert the piercing, usually somewhere in the middle. A sterilized needle will be used to puncture the chosen spot and the piercing will be put in.

Your tongue is going to swell up after the piercing is complete, so it's advised that you drink cold beverages and take anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen to reduce the swelling. The tongue will be sensitive for about 2 to 6 weeks and fully healed by the end of 6 months.

Naturally, there are several health risks to getting a tongue piercing. For instance, a bacterial infection can appear where the tongue was penetrated. The piercing itself can create damage to your tooth enamel, resulting in chipped teeth and gum recession. And in some cases, infection could still show up even after the piercing has been in place for years.

Fortunately, there are ways of keeping your piercing safe and your tongue in good health. Most dental experts recommend rinsing your mouth with non-alcoholic mouthwash after every meal to get rid of any bacteria. It's also advised that you avoid playing with your piercing or banging it against the roof of your mouth.

If you need to brush your teeth, be sure to remove the piercing first and rinse your mouth. Then brush your teeth as you normally would, provided you carefully brush around your tongue. Rinse your mouth a second time before you put the piercing back into place.

While a tongue piercing might say to the world that you're "edgy," it doesn't have to also say that you're lacking in common sense. A tongue piercing can be a sign of personal expression and personal responsibility if you take care of your mouth and how you show off your new accessory.

Image by t2mg2003 on Flickr

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