Think it’s too early to worry about your child getting a body piercing? According to a Northwestern University study, women account for almost three fourths of people with body piercings, and a third of them got their first piercing under the age of 18.
The study showed that unlike the case with tattoos, the prevalence of body piercing does not vary by educational status or income level. So if you’ve got a tween or soon-to-be tween floating around the house, it’s good to have some background on the risks when their curiosity about body piercing leads to questions.
The following are common medical complications associated with body piercing, including dental risks involved specifically with piercing the tongue:
According to Northwestern University, about a fourth of those with body piercing report complications. In a study of those with tongue, lip, or cheek piercings, a fourth had broken teeth attributed to their oral jewelry. labretsAccording to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, tongue piercing can lead to tongue infections as well as infections of the neck and brain. Tongue rings can create chemical trauma, sensitivity, and mouth allergies. Labrets/dumbells can damage the bone that supports teeth and gums, resulting in tooth loss and possible facial scarring. Nerve damage and speech impediments have also been associated with tongue piercing. Life threatening infections, including hepatitis and inflammation of the heart, may sometimes ensue.
One option for young ones bent on making a fashion statement is to use non-piercing alternatives such as magnets, clip-on, or adhesive options. 11-year-old Willow Smith, celebrity daughter of Will and Jada Smith, recently caused an internet frenzy when she posted a photo of her tongue piercing on Instagram. Turns out the stud was fake. (A word of warning – fake tongue piercings that are magnetic may also prove dangerous if swallowed!)