Getting a piercing in your lip, cheek, or tongue is a increasingly common form of self-expression.  However, if you have an oral piercing or are considering getting one there are dangers that you should know about.  

Common side effects of mouth piercings include excessive drooling, allergic reactions to metal in the jewelry, complications with chewing and swallowing food, difficulties when talking, and damage to your tongue, gums, and teeth.

Tongue jewelry may be the most hazardous of mouth piercings, and have the potential to adversely influence someone for a lifetime. For example, chipping and fracturing of teeth occurs in 45 to 50 percent of individuals who wear tongue rings for longer than four years. These chips and fractures will eventually need to be treated by dentist with fillings, root canals, crowns, or possibly extractions. Perhaps more severe is that piercing of the tongue can result in infection, gum damage, nerve damage, or even oral cancer.

Diabetics and those suffering from heart conditions need to take more precautions than others who have tongue piercings. Ludwig’s angina, a medical condition where the tongue can expand and block the airway, is possible if the area of a piercing becomes infected in those living with diabetes.  Bacteria that come from the infection of tongue jewelry may enter the blood stream and infect the heart valves, resulting in endocarditis.

To keep oral piercings clean use an antiseptic mouthwash after every meal.  Jewelry must also be brushed the same as your teeth to remove plaque and bacteria.  If there is a change in the area around a piercing contact your dentist so they can treat any possible infection immediately. Overall, the health risks associated with piercings in a tongue lip or cheek are much greater than an ear piercing. If you have a mouth piercing make sure you visit your dentist regularly to maintain your oral health and the health of your piercing.  For more information, contact Smiles Unlimited Dentistry, P.C.