Dental experts issue health warning over new tongue splitting trend

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Dental experts have issued a warning over the safety of a new trend known as tongue splitting.

Tattoos and piercings have soared in popularity in recent years, but a new body modification trend is emerging. Tongue splitting involves altering the shape of the tongue to create a reptilian aesthetic. In light of the rise in popularity of this distinctive look, a group of high-profile dental organisations has issued warnings, discouraging people from following in the footsteps of trailblazers.

Representatives from the Faculty of Dental Surgery, the Royal College of Surgeons and the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons have issued a statement condemning the practice, and encouraging people to steer clear of the fad. The joint statement informs people of the dangers of tongue splitting, and highlights the fact that any practitioners offering such treatment in England are likely to be operating illegally.

Tongue splitting is a form of cosmetic surgery, which has become popular among those who have an interest in extreme body modification. The procedure involves creating a split in the tongue to make it look similar to the tongue of a snake or lizard. Most commonly, surgeons use a scalpel to create the rift and shape the tongue.

Experts have warned that there may be confusion related to the legality of tongue splitting in the UK. In March 2018, the Court of Appeal ruled that the procedure was illegal in England and Wales, but there is less clarity linked to treatment in other parts of the UK. In light of this, the Faculty of Dental Surgery has called for restrictions to be tightened.

Tongue splitting has become popular for cosmetic reasons, but dentists and health experts are keen to point out the potential risks, which include speech problems, infections, blood loss, inflammation, nerve damage and difficulty swallowing.

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