The Mesoamericans such as the Aztecs practiced tongue piercing among others as blood offerings to their gods. In the Middle East, Islamic Fakirs and Sufis and from the Far East, Asian Spirit Mediums performed tongue piercing as offerings and to prove their immersion into a trance state (Bmezine 2006). At the turn of the 20th century, carnivals employed the tongue piercing practices of fakirs in their sideshow tricks. American and European audiences caught their first glimpses of tongue piercing and the trend caught on. Today, Elayne Angel is mainly responsible for the popularity and promotion of tongue piercing and is recognized as the first person with a tongue tip and multiple tongue piercings.
Similar to pierced ears, oral piercing uses metal jewelry that comes in a variety of styles, including studs, barbells and rings. Tongue, lips or cheek piercing however poses greater health risks and care should be taken in all aspects of the piercing process from choosing the right piercer to using the correct jewelry to aftercare measures to prevent health risks.
Tongue piercing has a number of popular names including tongue ring, a misnomer, as rarely are rings worn in tongue piercings. Side-by-side paired tongue piercings are referred as venom piercings or viper bites, suggestive of a snake's fangs.
The risks of employing unsafe procedures, the right piercer must be selected. Ideally such a piercer is someone who:
Has undertaken suitable training; is knowledgeable on the subject, knows the safety issues; is skilled, experienced and professional;
Performs prudent and safe piercing techniques and cross-contamination control measures;
Undertakes his practice in hygienic surroundings that obey the rules relevant local and state policies.
Follows OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens standards;
Possesses all valid licenses and permits;
Spore tests autoclave (sterilizer) regularly and can provide documentation;
Utilizes proper sterile instruments and jewelry, and sterile disposable needles;
Spends time to provide oral instructions and guidelines in proper care and gives written instructions;
Makes him / herself readily available for follow-up and answers questions related to post-piercing issues to resolve problems before injuries arise.
Wearing appropriate jewelry can reduce the onset of structural damage from tongue and oral piercing. If the jewelry is unsuitably sized, wrongly placed or poorly manufactured, complications may arise. Some considerations:
Proper style of jewelry for the specific anatomy and piercing position;
Accurately sized jewelry to the area. If long pieces of jewelry results in swelling it should be replaced with a shorter piece after swelling has reduced, as this has less possibility of harmfully afflicting the teeth and other oral structures.
Using surgical implant grade jewelry.
Jewelry used for piercings must conform to certain standards, material composition and design specifications.
Balls on tongue barbells can be made of acrylic to reduce the risk of teeth damage.
Ensure that threaded ends are on firmly and tighten them on a daily basis.
Contact with the sublingual part of the oral cavity can be minimized by wearing a smaller ball on the tongue's underside.
People who have undergone piercing should be cautioned that excessive toying with the jewelry
Fashions are constantly changing be it hairstyles, hair colors, mini skirts to midi skirts, and tattoos to mouth jewelry, every generation discovers new ways to mark its identity. Today, oral piercing and an assortment of mouth jewelry are increasingly the preference of America's youth…
Although such allergic reactions are not going to discourage the trend but telling about the risks involved could be a convincing strategy. Risks involved could be performing the piercing job from a novice who does not take proper precautions. A wrongly performed lip piercing can push the piercing out of the skin, making a scar on the area around.
This group also includes patients with HIV infection, at risk for more severe illness if they get infected with MRSA. The present article analyses the incidence and risks for MRSA bacteraemia in HIV population.
HIV infected patients are at amplified risk for Staphylococcus aureus and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization, infection and blood stream infection.
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