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Oral Piercings and Oral Health

added on: July 18, 2016

Oral piercings, whether it’s the tongue, the lip, or the cheeks, may help you express yourself, but despite how cool they look, they also come packed with concerns. All of us at our West Caldwell dental office want you to be able to do what you’d like with your body, but we also want to let you know some of the oral health problems that may happen as a result of an oral piercing.

The Risks

Oral piercings can affect the way you speak, how well you can chew, and may also lead to some serious dental and whole-body concerns. Nerve damage in the tongue is a common effect of an oral piercing. It’s not unusual to have some numbing after getting a piercing, but it’s possible that this numbing won’t ever go away, which can affect the way you taste foods. Besides that, infection is always a concern, as it is with any piercing. Infections can be minor, but if left untreated, can be extremely serious.

Infections in the mouth are especially dangerous since it provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to multiply. It’s damp, it’s dirty, and bacteria love it. If the infection become severe, your tongue may become swollen and can even block your airway, making it incredibly difficult to breathe.

Taking Care of an Oral Piercing

Now that you know the risks, if you still decide to get an oral piercing, it’s crucial to take care of it properly to reduce the risk of a problem.

  • Clean it, clean it, clean it. Your mouth, no matter how often you brush and floss, contains millions of bacteria. These bacteria can creep into the piercing site and cause an infection. To avoid this, make sure to keep the piercing and the jewelry clean at all times. After eating, rinse with water to help keep food particles from coagulating and getting stuck around the metal.
  • Don’t play with it. Try really hard to avoid clicking your jewelry against your teeth. Trust us. Constant clanging against teeth can weaken them and may lead to cracks or chips.
  • Get it tight. Ensure your piercing is secure often. This can reduce the risk of a piece falling off which can lead to choking or damaged teeth.
  • Seek medical attention at the first sign of infection. If your piercing becomes infected, you’ll know it. Keep an eye out for swelling, redness, and a fever or chills.

If you do already have an oral piercing and notice any of the symptoms of a potential problem, call our West Caldwell dental office to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Before going to a trusted professional to have any part of your mouth pierced, we encourage you to talk to your West Caldwell dentist to discuss any concerns either of you may have so you can make the best, educated decision for you.

Accepting patients from West Caldwell, Fairfield, Roseland and beyond.

Posted In: Dental Articles

Drs. Mike & Tom Masella