TONGUE PIERCING: IS IT WORTH IT? 

Having a pierced tongue might be a bold fashion statement, but it can actually be really dangerous for your oral health. In fact, the American Dental Association advises strongly against it, and for good reason. 

With millions of bacteria living in your mouth at any given time, infection is a common complication for people with tongue piercings. Plus, a swollen tongue can get so big that it may even block your airway! Other risks associated with oral piercings include chipped or cracked teeth, blood clots, blood poisoning, heart infections, brain abscess, nerve disorders, receding gums, or scar tissue. 

A misplaced needle during the piercing process can cause excessive bleeding, or even nerve damage. Other common side effects include pain, swelling, infection, increased saliva production, and gum tissue damage. 

 

TOBACCO: BAD NEWS IN ANY FORM 

Tobacco education and prevention starts with you as a parent. Starting at an early age, talk to your child about the dangers of tobacco use. 

It’s important to remember that tobacco in any form (including smokless tobacco, “chew” or “snuff”) can cause irreparable damage to your child’s health. In fact, chewing tobacco may even cause more harm than smoking with stronger addictive properties. Just one can of snuff contains as much nicotine as 60 cigarettes! Smokeless tobacco can cause periodontal disease and even pre-cancerous legions called leukoplakias with just one month of use. 

Here are some easily identifiable signs of early oral cancer: 

  • A sore that will not heal

  • Leathery patches on the lips or under the tongue, white or red in color

  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or lips

  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue; a change in tooth alignment 

Several of these early signs are usually not very painful, leading tobacco users to think nothing of them. However, if oral cancer is not identified in its early stages, it can cause extensive, sometimes disfiguring surgery, or at it’s worse, death.