Oral Piercings: The Hidden Risks to Your Health

Oral piercings, either to the lips or to the tongue, are a popular fashion statement, especially among younger people in their late teens and early twenties. However, these piercings can present health risks that are not immediately obvious. Before you decide to get an oral piercing, it is a good idea to consult with a dentist regarding the possible side effects and risks.

Health Risks of Oral Piercings

Like any piercing, a piercing in the lip or the tongue can present problems, particularly if it does not heal well. Among these problems are:

  • Infection
  • Swelling, sometimes severe enough to block the airway
  • Long-term soreness
  • Difficulty eating or speaking

Infection is particularly common and bothersome in the mouth. The mouth naturally carries a high level of bacteria, making it that much more likely that a piercing in the mouth will become infected. Infection can then travel from the mouth to other areas of the body, leading to systemic problems and possibly even increase the likelihood of heart disease.

Dental Health Problems Caused by Oral Piercings

Many problems that can occur due to oral piercings are specific to your oral and dental health. These can include:

  • Chipped or otherwise damaged teeth
  • Damage to the gums or palate
  • Increased likelihood of gum disease

A piece of metal jewelry in the mouth exposes your teeth, gums and other oral tissues to the possibility of damage. A high number of people with tongue piercings experience damage to their teeth as a result. Because the jewelry provides an additional surface for bacteria to congregate, it also increases the possibility that you will develop gum disease.

Oral piercings also increase the risk of choking if the jewelry comes loose and is inhaled. Even if the jewelry is only swallowed when it comes loose, it can cause damage to the throat, esophagus or other areas of the digestive tract.

To find out more about dental piercings and how they could compromise your oral health, please contact our experienced dental team in Plano TX to make an appointment. Call us today!

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