Q:

What are the pros and cons of tongue piercing?

A:

According to Sandra Reichstetter of Steady Health, the pros of tongue piercings are that they act as strong social unifiers among people who wish to belong to a crowd, and the jewelry helps people to assert their individuality in a conformist society. The cons of getting a tongue piercing include pain, swelling, long recovery times and possible health complications such as infections, nerve damage or paralysis.

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Some people may feel pressured by peers to receive a tongue piercing or feel that the execution of such a painful procedure makes them admired by friends, notes Reichstetter. Different types of tongue piercings, such as venom bites, are significantly more dangerous to undergo than others, and run the risk of puncturing a large blood vessel in the tongue. This can lead to excessive bleeding and, in severe cases, create an infection that spreads into the rest of the body and causes blood poisoning, septic shock or even death. Reichstetter explains that tongue piercings are especially high-maintenance for the first six to eight weeks after the jewelry is inserted. They require consistent mouth rinsing several times per day, and many washing solutions contain chemicals that irritate the piercing and cause considerable pain. People have the option of removing the piercing in these first weeks if they do not wish to keep it, and the wound closes and heals itself.

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