Oral Piercings and How They Affect Dental Health

The turn of the 21st century brought about the birth of a generation that placed great importance on inner beauty and unconventional aesthetics. There are more people getting tattoos and piercings as a form of self-expression, and while this in itself isn’t a problem, awareness has to be raised on the potential risks of getting an oral piercing. The mouth is a sensitive part of our body that is used every day, and in the case that it gets infected, it can affect the way our body takes in nutrition.

For people who decide to go through with an oral piercing, here are some risks to be aware of.

  • Infections are the number one health problem of getting an oral piercing. If you get a part of your mouth pierced, make sure that the tools used are sterilized and that you keep the area clean, preferably covered with gauze or a protective device, while it heals around the jewelry. If you do not take care of the wounded area well, bacteria can settle in the tissue and cause a dangerous infection. The studio will usually tell you what you can use to clean the area of any dirt or food.

  • Transmission of diseases like the herpes simplex virus, hepatitis B, and C. This risk also has to do with the cleanliness of the tools used when your piercing was made. Remember that a piercing is basically making a wound in your tissue, and unwanted microorganisms can enter that area if the tools are not sterilized. Visit the studio where you’re getting pierced and look around to see if everything is in order. A good studio will have hospital grade autoclaves and practice infection control (use of gloves, hand washing). You may even ask to see the studios health certificates if you want to be sure.

  • Nerve damage is also a risk, especially if the piercing was done incorrectly. If the nerves were damaged during the piercing, you can experience numbness or loss of sensation in the area. Prolonged bleeding is also an issue if a blood vessel was damaged during the piercing.

  • Difficulty breathing is a possible side-effect if your tongue swells following a tongue piercing. The tongue can block the airway and cause DOB. If swelling happens around different areas, it can prove difficult to do daily oral functions, such as eating, drinking, and oral care.

If you do experience infection, severe pain, excessive bleeding, and other symptoms, take out the piercing and see a doctor immediately. The jewelry you put in may be the cause of the infection and bleeding, so it’s best to get checked out in the ER (don’t forget to bring the jewelry!).

Piercings aren’t bad for health, as most of the population has their ears pierced for aesthetic purposes. It just pays to be careful with oral piercings because the repercussions can be vast if you get your piercing done incorrectly and your mouth gets infected. You can get a consult and a referral with our very qualified and friendly dentists at Greenspoint Dental. Give us a call and grab a schedule today!