My teenager wants to get his/her tongue, lip or cheek pierced!

There are many risks involved with oral piercing: chipped or cracked teeth, blood clots, blood poisoning and suffocation. Your mouth contains millions of bacteria, and infection is a common complication of oral piercing.  There have been reported cases of a person’s tongue swelling large enough to close off the person’s airway resulting in an emergency tracheotomy.

Common symptoms of dangerous side effects after piercing include pain, swelling, infection, an increased flow of saliva and injuries to gum tissue. Difficult-to-control bleeding or nerve damage can result if a blood vessel or nerve bundle is in the path of the piercing.

My child is curious to try chewing tobacco
We encourage you to teach your child about the dangers of tobacco.

Tobacco in any form can jeopardize your child’s health and cause incurable damage.  Tobacco introduces cancer-causing chemicals in direct contact to the user’s tongue, gums and cheek.

Smokeless tobacco, also called spit, chew or snuff, is often used by teens because they believe that it is a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. This is an unfortunate misconception.

Studies show that spit tobacco may be more addictive than smoking cigarettes and thus more difficult to quit. One can of snuff per day delivers as much nicotine as 60 cigarettes – the same as a three pack-a-day habit!  In as little as three to four months, smokeless tobacco use can cause periodontal disease and produce pre-cancerous lesions called leukoplakias.

If your child is a tobacco user you should watch for the following that could be early signs of oral cancer:

• A sore that won't heal.
• White or red leathery patches on the lips, and on or under the tongue.
• Pain, tenderness or numbness anywhere in the mouth or lips.
• Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue; or a change the way the teeth fit together.

The early signs of oral cancer usually are not painful and people often ignore them.  If it’s not caught in the early stages, oral cancer can require extensive, sometimes disfiguring, surgery.  If left untreated, it’s fatal.

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