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Tuesday, 20 July, 1999, 23:36 GMT 00:36 UK
'I like my pierced tongue'
Tongue piercing is becoming increasingly fashionable
Scary Spice did it. Even Princess Anne's daughter Zara has done it. Now dentists are warning of the dangers.

BBC News Online talks to graphic designer Jools De Vere on why she joined the growing band of people having their tongues pierced.

Jools had her tongue pierced at a festival two years ago and has no regrets.

"It was purely for fashion reasons. A lot of young people have it done. I like the look and feel of it," she said.

She has several other body piercings and made sure that she had the procedure carried out by a recognised piercer.

Jools, 31 from north London, said they had been licensed by the local health authority to carry out piercings and used disposable equipment.

They even handled all the jewellery with disposable surgical gloves.

Before the piercing took place, she was able to ask questions about safety and hygiene.

Afterwards, she was given an after-care pack, including saline solutions, a list of hygiene instructions and phone numbers and was told to contact her doctor if she developed any adverse reactions.

She was also offered a lie-down and a cup of tea if she felt she needed them.

'Knife through butter'

She said the actual piercing was very quick and not at all painful.

"There was no force. It was like slicing through butter. When I had my nose pierced I was in absolute agony, but they pierce through the part of the tongue where there are no nerves or soft tissue," she said.

For the first week after the piercing, she found it difficult to eat and had to position her food carefully.

About four weeks later when the piercing had healed, she had the initial stud removed and replaced with a smaller one.

She said a big stud and post are used at the start to allow for swelling of the tongue which lasts for a few days.

'Strange at first'

With the smaller stud, there is no interference with eating.

Also, because she has her stud towards the centre of her tongue, instead of at the front where it shows every time she talks, it does not affect her speech or knock against her teeth.

"It is really unnoticeable. I can ignore it. It doesn't feel any different," she said.

She now visits a hygienist every six months and makes sure she keeps the stud clean.

"It felt a bit strange on the first day," she stated. "But I have got used to it. It was definitely worth it."

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20 Jul 99 | Health
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