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Tongue Lacerations Inflicted from Child Abuse

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Tongue lacerations can happen to anyone by accident. Tongue lacerations are usually the result of some sort of accident, such as hitting one’s chin on a hard surface. Sometimes children suffer tongue lacerations due to falling; but sadly in children, not all tongue lacerations are accidental; some are inflicted through child abuse.

As a parent, you love your children; you would give your own life to save them from getting hurt. You could never think of ever hurting your child, yet every day children somewhere suffer at the hands of their parents. What is amazing is that the neighbors may never have a clue that anything is amiss, but often a health professional can spot child abuse right away. Dentists are often the very first to spot child abuse that has been inflicted through tongue lacerations, and other injuries of the mouth.

Upon routine examination, the dentist examines the mouth; oral injuries such as tongue lacerations are occasionally identified as caused by trauma inflicted by a parent. The dentist may see other signs of abuse in the oral cavity; there may be scars from previous tongue lacerations from sharp objects piercing or slicing the tongue. Mouth and tongue lacerations can be caused by an angry parent force feeding a small child, or even more heinous acts. Often a dental professional is the first to see signs of trauma from burns, cuts, and bruises on the lips, and oral mucosa.

When medical or dental professionals witness injuries that appear suspicious of child abuse, they are obligated to report them to the police and to the local child protection services. Children are way too often helpless victims of child abuse; angry, stressed out parents don’t have the skills to raise their children without violence.

We stop listening to the news because all we ever hear are stories of children being abused. We want to hide our head in the sand and pretend that all children are loved and cared for; but it isn’t true. A parent’s love isn’t supposed to hurt. Children are hurt every day by the toxic love of their parents. Many parents love their children the best way they know how, but they, themselves, may have been the victims of child abuse. Parents reason that they were raised in this manner and they turned out alright. Many abusive parents don’t even realize they are living a cycle of abuse set in motion by their own parents.

A scenario of child abuse resulting in mouth and tongue lacerations might go something like this: A stressed out single mom is angry because her little boy won’t eat his broccoli. She yells at him, telling him to eat; he starts to cry and complain that he doesn’t like broccoli. His mom grabs him and pinches his nose shut until he opens his mouth to breathe. She shoves the broccoli into his mouth and inadvertently shoved the fork into his tongue; this wasn’t the first time this happened. She force fed him many times when he wouldn’t eat what she put on his plate. Inside his mouth is scaring from accidental tongue lacerations caused by forced feedings. This little boy will suffer in silence until one day a medical or dental professional will identify the fresh tongue lacerations and the scars from previous episodes of abuse. The dentist keeps his/her calm, finishes the work at hand and discretely calls 911. If the system works the way it intended, another child will be saved from a lifetime of abuse.


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