Sure they look cool and are quite trendy, especially if you’re interested in alternative fashion. But if you choose to get an oral piercing on your tongue or elsewhere in your mouth, you should be aware that there are health implications. This isn’t to dissuade you from getting a piercing if that’s what you wish to do, but to inform you so you are aware of the potential risks.
Health Risks of Oral Piercings
Whether on your tongue, lip, inner cheek, or tooth (yes, tooth piercings exist), be aware that such modifications can increase your risk of the following issues:
Endocarditis – This is an inflammation of the heart or its valves. The wound caused by the piercings can lead to an infection where the bacteria enters the bloodstream and then the heart.
Gum Disease – Metal piercings that constantly come into contact with the gums can elevate the odds of developing gum disease.
Tooth Damage – Jewelry, especially tongue barbells, can damage and chip your teeth by constantly coming into contact with it.
Nerve Damage – Piercings may puncture blood vessels in the tongue and gums, causing nerve damage that may lead to numbness and swelling.
What the Study Shows
According to a Medline/PubMed study, 36.8% of those with lip piercings felt some form of tooth damage and 41.8% saw gingival recession. For those with tongue piercings, the figures are 24.3% and 43% respectively. You may also be at greater risk if you have preexisting oral health issues.
This isn’t to say that you should immediately remove any preexisting piercings. Ultimately, factors like your hygiene habits, placement of the jewelry, and type of jewelry determines your level of risk. Your Kenmore dentists office will let you know if your piercing is safe.
Visit Your Kenmore Orthodontist to Learn More
If you opt for an oral piercing, be aware of the risks. Adhering to basic oral hygiene principles and visiting your dentist for regular checkups can mitigate these risks. Aside from orthodontic care and family dentistry, most clinics also provide cosmetic dentistry, which can further enhance the appearance of any oral jewelry you do have. Whether you’re contemplating a mouth piercing or already have one, contact our Kenmore dentists at (425) 437-1032 to learn more or schedule a dental care appointment today.
Edited by Justin Vorhees