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Dentists: Tongue piercing can be dangerous

CHICAGO, March 17 (UPI) -- A U.S. report warns that tongue piercing can cause dangerous and even fatal infections.

An article in the journal General Dentistry describes a young woman who developed a large lump next to her piercing. She called the lump her "second tongue," and it proved to be a growing mass of scar tissue.

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Replacing her tongue stud with a shorter one and better oral hygiene, including use of a hydrogen peroxide mouthwash, improved the situation.

Dr. Ellis Neiburger, the lead author of the study, recommends keeping the wound from the piercing clean and using plastic caps to keep the stud in place instead of metal.

Dr. Melvin Pierson, a spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry, suggests that the best procedure is to avoid tongue piercing. He said that unclean equipment can cause infections and patients can infect themselves if they touch the piercing with their hands.

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