• March 4, 2020
Oral Piercings and Oral Health

Body art has emerged as a popular form of self-expression over the past decade. In addition to tattoos, oral piercings of the tongue, lip and cheeks are more common, especially amongst adolescents and young adults. There are many oral health myths circulating. It’s best to get your facts straight before getting an oral piercing. How do oral piercings affect a person’s overall oral health?

Initial concerns

Your body reacts to the process of having a piercing in the oral cavity just as it does any other puncture wound or incision. Some possible issues you may need to deal with are:

Pain and Swelling: The puncture site will react to the trauma of the piercing.

Bleeding – Sometimes a blood vessel is punctured by the needle during the piercing and can result in bleeding that is difficult to control.

Infection: Your mouth contains millions of bacteria, which can contribute to an infection at the puncture site.

Reactions to Metal: your body may be allergic to the material used to make the jewelry.

Long-Term Oral Health Issues from Oral Piercings

As your body heals and becomes accustomed to the piercing, there are other longer-term issues that can still cause problems.

Injury to Teeth and/or Gums: The metal jewelry is a foreign object in your mouth that can chip or break teeth and damage gum tissue. Scarring – a scar, cyst or keloid (firm, rubbery legions) might form at the piercing site.

Endocarditis: According to an article in the Center for Disease Control’s Emerging Infection Diseases periodical, oral piercing carries a risk of Neisseria endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart valves or tissues.

Interference with Normal Functions: The jewelry in your mouth can cause excessive saliva production, interfere with speech sounds, and cause problems with being able to properly chew food.

Special Oral Care Considerations

People with oral piercings must take special care when brushing their teeth so as not to rip the tissue surrounding the piercing. It’s also important to keep the piercing site clean to avoid buildup of plaque caused by the bacteria that normally lives in the mouth. You should not use toothpaste that contains a whitening agent.

Twice yearly visits to the dentist are very important to assess the health of the piercings along with cleanings and x-rays.

In the end, while piercings are a form of self-expression, the risks to your oral health are not worth it.

If you have questions about oral health and piercings or need a dental checkup near Joliet, please call Shorewood Family Dental Care at 815-725-5991 or book an appointment online.