If piercings are your thing, we aren’t here to judge. We believe everyone should be free to express themselves how they wish. However, when it comes to oral piercings, the teams at our dental offices want you to be aware of some of the concerns that go along with them.
If you’re thinking about getting your tongue, lip, or cheek pierced, make sure you know all of the risks involved with doing so in order to make an educated decision.
- Infection. Since your mouth is always warm and moist, it’s the perfect place for bacteria to flourish. A piercing increases the chance that those bacteria will cause an infection. Once you create a hole in a place where bacteria already lives, it’s extremely common for the infection to occur. These infections can be serious, even life-threatening. If the infection makes the tongue swell, your airway can close, making it difficult to breathe.
- Gum Disease. It’s more common for those with oral piercings to have gum disease than those without. Since there is essentially a foreign object in your mouth, the chance for gum damage is increased. Once the gums are damaged, bacteria can wiggle in there and lead to gum disease.
- Tooth Damage. Many people with oral piercings play with them. A lot. Clanking the jewelry against teeth can cause them to chip or break, making dental treatment necessary. Clicking or accidentally biting the jewelry can also create tiny holes in the enamel, opening the root up to bacteria and decay. If this happens, you may need a filling or, if severe enough even a root canal.
To reduce your risk of infection, tooth damage, or gum disease, make sure to follow proper care of your oral piercing.
- Clean the area thoroughly and often to help keep bacteria and infection away.
- Rinse with water after eating to wash away food particles that can attract bacteria.
- Avoid playing with it to minimize the chance of tooth damage.
If you’ve already had a part of your mouth pierced, keep an eye out for any signs of infection including swelling, redness, fever, chills, or shaking. If you notice any of the symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible.