Oral Health When You Have Mouth or Tongue Piercings: The Risks and Proper Care

tongue piercing

Other than tattoos, one popular form of self-expression around the world is body piercing. These are seen as unique ways for people to express their individuality through the way they look. However, many of these methods have health risks. That’s why dental professionals do not endorse all types of piercings in the mouth – whether it’s a ring, stud, or barbell – due to the potential oral health problems involved.

No matter how “cool” they may look, mouth piercings can be extremely dangerous to your health. After all, the mouth houses millions of bacteria, and with piercings, swelling and infections are highly possible. Your mouth and tongue may suffer from extreme swelling, which could cause your airway to close off. In some cases, you could crack your teeth if you bite too hard or choke if a portion of the pierced jewelry accidentally breaks off inside your mouth. For extreme cases, you might suffer from hepatitis of endocarditis.

Piercings on the tongue, cheeks, lips, or even the small tissue hanging at the back of your throat can cause speech, chewing, and swallowing difficulties. Other risks include the following:

  • Pain, swelling, and infection – As mentioned earlier, your mouth is home to a large number of breeding bacteria, making it susceptible to infection. When left untreated, some forms of infections can be fatal. When the piercing causes your tongue to swell, it may block your airway.
  • Teeth, gums, and fillings damage – It’s common for many to bite or play with the piercings inside their mouth. This habit, however, can cause injuries to the gums, as well as a scratch or crack on sensitive teeth. Even fillings aren’t safe from these issues.
  • Excessive drooling – Getting your tongue pierced may cause your mouth to produce more saliva.
  • Damage to the nerves – It’s not unusual to experience numbness in the tongue after getting a piercing. While it’s common for nerve damage to be temporary, it can permanent in some instances. Once your nerve gets injured permanently, it will affect your sense of taste and ability to make mouth movements.
  • Dental visit difficulties – When you have to visit your dentist, the pierced jewelry may block X-rays.

piercing toolIf you’ve already had your piercings done, you understand how important cleanliness is in keeping it safe and free from infections. Even the equipment and interior design of your doctor’s office should meet the standards of cleanliness to make sure your oral health is in good condition. Use a mouth rinse after your meals to make sure the piercing site remains clean and free of any matter that may build up on the metal jewelry.

In addition, avoid putting stress on the piercing through constant clicking on the jewelry and playing around with it with your tongue. Be conscious of the jewelry’s movement whenever you’re chewing or talking. Contact your dentist immediately if you experience any symptom of infections, such as pain, chills, swelling, and shaking. Visit your dentist regularly for the appropriate checkups or assessments of your oral health.

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