Body piercing, an element of today's "body art", has grown immensely over the last several years. This trend, seen mainly in adolescents and young adults, involves piercing of the tongue, lips, cheeks, nose, eyebrow and the erogenous zones. Glorified in movies such as Pulp Fiction, body piercing actually presents considerable dental and medical risks.
The main dangers involved with piercing are the risk of infection, metal allergy and bleeding. In fact, The National Institutes of Health has identified piercing as a possible route for the transmission of hepatitis. In the case of oral piercing, the bacteria-rich mouth can case an infection in the piercing site. Untreated, the infection could cause swelling of the throat and prevent a person from breathing properly. Oral piercing can also cause damage to the teeth, interfere with speaking and cause an allergic reaction or breathing complications if the jewelry is swallowed.
Piercing is a popular part of our culture. Proper sterilization techniques and the use of gold jewelry can reduce the risks of infection and metal allergy. Body piercing should be approached with extreme caution.