Body piercing is a form of expression dating back as far as human life itself. Tongue piercing is the most popular body piercing in the world, only second to ear piercing. Getting your tongue pierced at a tattoo shop or piercing salon is the safest way to get your tongue pierced, but it is also possible to pierce your own tongue at home. Standard tongue piercings, or one hole in the centre of your tongue, is the most common and safest way to have your tongue pierced. Other forms of tongue piercing, such as gauging/stretching your tongue or multiple tongue piercings, is much more dangerous. As long as you exercise caution when getting your tongue pierced and pick a piercing location you trust, you should get a safe, relatively painless piercing with low chance of infection.
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Aztecs practised tongue piercing and other body modification as an offering to gods. There are also existing drawings of Mayan priests getting their tongues pierced as a form of self-sacrifice and strength. To further prove their strength, the priests would run cords or ropes through their tongues after piercing. Tongue piercing was not a permanent practice until the 1900s in Europe and America.
The most common tongue piercing is a tongue stud driven into the centre of the tongue. It is important that a stud is a little on the larger side than the smaller side, as small, thin studs can cause the tongue to try and force out the stud. Multiple studs are more dangerous and can be harmful to the teeth because they are not located centrally in the mouth. Larger studs can be purchased and are fairly safe, if you are interested in stretching your tongue piercing.
Many people hesitate to get tongue piercings because they don't want their speech to be affected. If you are an actor, speech specialist, or singer, you will want to think carefully before piercing your tongue. Although your speech may be affected by your tongue piercing, it is not likely that people will notice a difference if your job does not revolve around your voice or speech. Your speech will return to normal when you remove your tongue piercing.
It is speculated that if you have a tongue piercing, you are at a larger risk for HIV. If you engage in oral sex and you have a tongue piercing, use a condom or dental dam. One common theory is that it is more exciting to receive oral sex from someone with a tongue ring. This theory is a matter of personal preference and cannot be further proven.
It is possible to pierce your tongue by yourself or with a friend at home, but it is far more dangerous than getting your tongue pierced at an experienced piercing salon or tattoo shop. You can purchase a tongue piercing kit and studs online, but that is no substitute for cleaning your tongue properly and reading thoroughly about tongue piercing before doing it yourself. Most importantly, be sure every tool you use is clean, brand-new and sterilised.