Can your oral health be compromised by piercings on your tongue, lips, cheeks or uvula?
These body adornments may look cool, but this hot fashion trend can actually have a detrimental effect on your health. A piercing can result in side effects and complications, particularly if you are not diligent about your dental hygiene habits.
Are you considering a new piercing or do you already have one (or more)? They may pose more than a few potential oral health risks.
Oral Piercings Are Susceptible to Infection
Because the mouth is a dark, warm, moist environment, it’s a breeding ground for bacteria. This creates an ideal climate for infection and other risks to your oral health.
Getting a piercing gives the bacteria in your mouth new space to grow. If you think about it, you’re opening a hole in your tongue, cheek or elsewhere in your mouth. This is like opening up a new path for bacteria and germs to get past your natural defenses and enter your body.
When left untreated, infections can quickly become life-threatening, particularly if you have a weakened immune system. Any infection can spread from the mouth to other vital tissues and organs and cause serious medical ramifications.
In addition, an infected tongue or uvula piercing could swell and block your airway.
Oral Piercings Can Result in Serious Damage
After getting a piercing, you may experience some numbness caused by nerve damage.
Usually this numb feeling is temporary, but in some cases, the nerve injury is permanent. Damage to a nerve can affect your sense of taste, how you speak or how you move your mouth to bite and chew.
Many people with piercings also suffer oral health problems with their teeth, gums or fillings. The metal can rub up against the teeth and mouth tissues, exposing tooth roots, wearing down the gums and scratching or cracking the teeth. The habit of biting on the piercing or tapping it against the teeth is also a common cause of oral health problems and damage for those with tongue and cheek piercings.
Do You Already Have Oral Piercings?
The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests that the best course of action is to remove oral piercings before they can cause any oral health problems. If you’d prefer to keep yours without suffering infection or damage, you must be obsessive about your dental hygiene.
Solid oral health habits include keeping the piercing site and your entire mouth clean by rinsing after every meal and brushing and flossing twice each day. Avoid clicking the piercing against your teeth, and be particularly mindful of its movement when you are talking and eating.
Finally, to prevent injury, remove your piercing when participating in sports or athletic activities.
Regular exams are also a must for anyone with oral piercings. Contact one of the convenient Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah offices, serving the greater Salt Lake City area. We are dedicated to helping you maintain high standards of oral health.