06 Aug Oral Piercings: The Hidden Risks to Your Health
Piercing lips, the tongue, and other soft oral tissues may be the individual’s attempt to make a fashion statement. However, your dentist would advise this is not necessarily a safe choice to make.
There are a number of negative aspects to piercing in and around the mouth. The mouth contains bacteria that could result in infection for poorly administered or maintained piercings. While a local infection may be overcome with medication, there is a serious condition called endocarditis which is an inflammation of the heart and surrounding valves. Although the risk may not seem overwhelming for most, why would you want to take this kind of chance?
Since the majority of individuals that undergo oral piercings are teens or young adults, how many will actually inquire about the sanitary conditions of the salon they have chosen? Are the employees licensed; have they been vaccinated against the hepatitis B and C strains; how can you be assured that the piercing instruments are properly sterilized? How safe is the jewelry to be used?
While the wearer may think their appearance is enhanced, how attractive is drooling? Any foreign item introduced into the mouth increases saliva production. Also, speech patterns may be altered especially with a tongue piercing.
Your dentist has multiple concerns regarding the potential damage to teeth and gum tissue. Having teeth continuously subjected to contact with the materials used in piercings can result in chipped or broken teeth; breakdown of dental enamel; premature gum recession (promoting gum disease); or abrasions of soft oral tissues.
A chipped or broken tooth can be a costly and time consuming dental repair such as requiring a dental crown or even root canal therapy. Worn enamel can lead to dental decay. Gum disease can lead to loss of bone in gum tissue, which may result in tooth loss.
Tongue piercings can do permanent damage to nerve endings as well as affect how food tastes. Eating and drinking with a piercing may loosen the jewelry that may be swallowed, choked on, or aspirated.
Consult your dentist before undergoing an oral piercing; he has your best interest in mind. While you might like the look achieved with face and mouth jewelry, the chances of experiencing a negative experience could outweigh any aesthetic enjoyment you might receive.