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Body Piercing

When it comes to the latest fashion trends, young people are quick jump on the bandwagon. And while some trends come and go, others are here to stay.

The latest fashion trend to go mainstream is body piercings. Not simply earlobe piercings, mind you. Piercings are now being done all over the body, from tongue piercings to earlobe gauges to microdermal anchors, which are essentially body jewelry affixed to the surface of the skin held by an anchor implanted underneath the skin.

For many people, a body piercing or modification is a unique way to express themselves. But there are health concerns associated with these procedures that young people need to take into account before doing anything to their bodies.

Complications usually occur in 17 to 35 percent of all body piercings. The problems usually arise from a lack of experience or hygiene of the practitioner, the materials or instruments used for the piercing, and failing to properly care for the area after the procedure is done. Infections are usually localized at the site of the piercing, but in some instances, the infection can spread throughout the body and can lead to life threatening complications. 

The most commonly infected piercing sites are the naval and the tongue: the naval because of the high amounts of skin moisture and the friction caused by rubbing against clothes. Infection can occur on the tongue because of the high levels of bacteria in the mouth. Tongue piercings can also cause long-term dental issues such as receding gums, also known as gingivitis, and chipping or fracturing teeth. You can also develop eating problems, speech impediments, drooling, loss of taste and scarring.

Body jewelry can also interfere with medical procedures such as MRIs and need to be removed prior to the procedure. Jewelry should also be removed before participating in contact sports. Body jewelry also poses risks of blood borne infection transmission such as hepatitis.

If your child is considering a body piercing, be sure to discuss the health risks, as well as the responsibility of caring for it. Help them understand that getting a body piercing is a big decision, one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

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