The idea of cutting your tongue in half may make your skin crawl, but for some people it’s a look to be desired.

Scientists have warned of the serious health risks associated with the ‘tongue-splitting’ trend – an extreme procedure where the tongue is cut in half to create a distinctive ‘forked’ effect.

Researchers from the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons and the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons have issued new advice for people considering the procedure.

The experts warn that tongue splitting can cause hemorrhage, infection and even permanent nerve damage.

And despite the fact that tongue-splitting is now illegal in England and Wales, the researchers explained that there’s still some ambiguity around its use in the rest of the UK.

Selina Master, Junior Vice Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, said: “As dental surgeons, we’ve seen some of the horrific consequences of these procedures.

“It’s so important that people realise they are putting themselves at serious risk of significant blood loss, infection, nerve damage and problems being able to breath or swallow.

“In England and Wales, practitioners who offer tongue splitting are doing so illegally as the law currently stands.

“There is an urgent need for the law in other parts of the UK to be clarified.”

The experts have also warned that tongue piercings can have serious health risks, including inhalation and ingestion, tooth fracture, gum damage, infection, oral lesions, adverse reactions to local anaesthetic and swelling that can lead to breathing difficulties.

Worryingly, over half of tongue piercings and one in five lip piercings performed on 16-24 year-olds are believed to result in complications.

Ms Master added: "We would strongly advise people not to have oral piercings or tongue splits, however if they do, it is crucial they see their dentist on a regular basis so that the impact on their oral health can be closely monitored.

"Never try to carry out one of these procedures on yourself, or others.”

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