Your Tongue Piercing Could Kill You, Cautions IDA

Tongue and Lip Jewelry Provides Avenue for Potentially Deadly Infections

The Irish Dental Association (IDA) warns that lip and tongue piercings can lead to serious health problems, potentially even death. With no regulations governing body piercings, young people getting pierced run the risk of contracting hepatitis or other blood-borne diseases from Lip Piercing unhygienic piercing needles. The risk is especially high for people with heart murmurs, as the piercing provides an avenue for bacteria to enter the bloodstream , which could possibly lead to infective endocarditis, a potentially fatal heart condition.

Additionally, oral piercings can lead to dental problems. Though a pierced tongue or a lip piercing may appeal to a young person, they should realize the risks: infections can occur, gums can recede, and the metal jewelry can abrade the tooth enamel, even chipping or cracking the tooth. “If you get an oral piercing, you must accept that you will damage your oral health, and, in many cases, what damage you do will be irreversible,” cautions Dr. Kevin O’Boyle of the IDA. (That’s the Irish Dental Association, not the dental marketing company Internet Dental Alliance.)

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About Julie Frey

+Julie Frey is the Editor of blog. She has dedicated her career to Internet marketing and communications, working side-by-side with dental marketing guru Jim Du Molin since 2006. She has a degree in Linguistics from Stanford University, has a passion for language and writing, and lives in San Francisco.

  • Jake Robinson

    my tongue piercing swelled and my tongue turned greenish white, when i checked on it the second day when i awoke i noticed that the bottom ball had actually went up inside of my tongue, is it dangerous to leave it there?

  • Katie

    You need to pop the ball back out of your tounge..
    As i have had my done and didnt have that problem but the top of the ball went inside of my tounge… just pop it out and suck plenty of ice, eat icecream to.

    all thats happend to your tounge is that is has bruised, as my friends did, just eat your ice and you should be fine soon.

  • matt

    Just make sure you see the piercer take the needle out of a surgically seeled package, as with the surgical steel bar itself (which should also be packaged).. and he/she should be using new gloves from a box. If any of these aren’t met, leave.. and don’t let them pierce you.

    Also, if you have a particularly short tongue, the damage to teeth is more likely, since a larger tongue will allow a piercing farther back and won’t interfere with teeth as easily.

    after the piercing is done, wash your mouth out with a 1/4 mouth wash to 3/4 water mixture after every meal until the swelling goes down (could be about a week). Avoid dairy, and eat lots of iceypoles, slushies, etc to aid in a faster recovery. Try not to move your tongue around too much especially in the early days – yes, this means eating mainly mushy food and probably mispronouncing some words.

  • stephen

    i want to get my tongue pierced, but i’m scared that it will swell up and i will die! if it does swell up really big, what should i do? go to the piercer or just eat ice?

  • Steve

    All of the websites that I’ve seen that say “don’t pierce your tongue, you will die” are talking about very specific situations where the person is going to a piercer who is not clean, or getting the piercing done by an amateur and getting hepatitis or another blood-borne disease.

    If you go to a professional piercer:
    – The environment is clean, all surfaces that come into contact with pathogens are cleaned using medical grade checmicals.
    – They will be using sterilized tools – hospital grade sterilization, using an autoclave.
    – The sterilized needles are single use and disposed of immediately.

    For a tongue piercing specifically:
    The pain of the piercing itself is minimal.
    Your tongue will swell up a lot for a few days. It’s uncomfortable but not unbearable. The piercer will use a longer-than-needed bar to accomodate for this swelling (that way it doesn’t get embedded in your tongue like one of the other posters mentioned). You can change to a shorter bar later on.

    Do your homework – there’s a lot of information on tongue piercing online. After you’ve read a ton about it then you can make an educated decision rather than rely on the opininion of any one person (even if that one person is a dentist).

  • Melody

    i peirced my tongue last monday and last friday it started to bleed a lot so i decided to take it out. turned out the peircing might have gone threw a nerve. so its been out for a week now and theres a ball inside my tongue were it use to be. I asked my peircer what to do to get rid of it, he said to just rub it that it would make it soft and it would go away eventually. its not working. does anyone have any advice on what it could be and how to get rid of it?

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