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6 Truths About Piercings In Your Mouth

Friday, October 13th, 2017

In today’s society, body art has become a form of self-expression for many people. From old to young, people adorn themselves with tattoos, colorful hair, or piercings – some of which may find themselves in the tongue, on the lips, on the cheeks, or around the mouth. What do these trends mean for your oral health?

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What You Should Know About Piercings In The Mouth

  1. Oral piercings pose a health risk because the mouth contains millions of bacteria, which live and thrive in this type of moist environment. Painful infection and swelling can result from these piercings if they are not properly cared for and cleaned. An infection due to a piercing can quickly become life threatening if not treated quickly. Oral piercings have also been identified by the National Institute of Health as a possible factor in the transmission of hepatitis (1, 2).
  2. Oral piercings can have dangerous side effects. A piercing can cause swelling of the tongue, which could potentially block the airway and restrict breathing. Allergic reactions can also occur due to hypersensitivity to the metals in the mouth (1).
  3. Piercings of the tongue, lips or uvula can interfere with speech, the ability to chew properly or normal swallowing motions. These issues can make typical daily activities and communication more difficult (1, 2).
  4. Oral piercings can create excessive drooling issues. Foreign objects in the mouth can increase the body’s natural saliva production (1).
  5. Piercings in the mouth can cause damage to the gums, teeth or even fillings. Many people with oral piercings develop a habit of “playing” with the piercing, or chewing and biting them. This can injure the gum tissue, causing it to recede. When this happens, the teeth are at an increased risk for decay, and the gum tissue itself can become irritated or infected. The jewelry can also even crack, chip or scratch the teeth, as well as damage fillings and crowns, creating the need for costly and painful repair (1, 2).
  6. Nerve damage can occur with a tongue piercing. Typically, the numbness caused by this damage is temporary, but in some cases results in permanent sensation or taste loss (1, 2).

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If You Have A Piercing, Be Smart!

An oral piercing is a responsibility you should not take lightly. It requires upkeep, attention and maintenance to ensure safety and cleanliness. We recommend speaking to your dentist prior to having any part of your mouth pierced.

If you already have a piercing or do decide to get one, contact your dentist or a doctor right away if you develop signs of infection, such as swelling, pain, fever, or chills.

Keep the piercing site clean. One of the best ways to do this is to use a mouth rinse or mouthwash after every time you eat something. Handle the jewelry only with clean hands.

Avoid chewing, biting or clicking on the piercing. Regularly check the jewelry to be sure it isn’t loose or damaged. Smaller jewelry is safer than larger alternatives. A smaller barbell, for example, has less potential to damage the teeth than a larger one.

Remove the jewelry for activities such as playing sports, eating, and even sleeping. These activities pose greater threat for damage to the teeth, choking hazard, unintentional injury or infection risk. Taking the jewelry out of your piercing for this time will reduce your risk of adverse reaction. You can use a plastic ring retainer to plug the hole while it is removed.

Lastly, be sure to always practice healthy dental hygiene by flossing daily and brushing twice a day. Keep up to date with your regular dental checkups. And contact your dentist at the first sign of an issue (1, 3).

Call Hagen Dental Practice Today!

Do you have a question about your oral piercing? Are you considering a piercing and want advice? We are here for you! Give us a call at (513) 251-5500.

 

Sources:

1. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/o/oral-piercings

2. http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/threats-to-dental-health/article/oral-piercings

3. https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/oral-piercings.html

Can Gum Recession Happen In An Otherwise Healthy Mouth?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

The short answer is that yes, gum recession can happen in a mouth that is otherwise ”healthy.”

Gum recession is the process during which the margin of gum tissue surrounding the teeth wears away or pulls back. This process causes exposure of more of the tooth’s surface, or even the tooth’s root.

Gaps can form between the teeth and gum line, creating an easy place for bacteria to build up. If left untreated, the teeth can become severely damaged, cause extreme discomfort, and even lead to tooth loss.

How Does it Happen?

Gum recession usually happens gradually. Signs include tooth sensitivity or noticing a tooth that seems to have “gotten longer”. There can also be a noticeable notch where the tooth meets the gum. It’s important NOT to ignore these signs. Prevention (when possible) and early treatment are the keys to repairing the gum and tooth and prevent further damage.

what-causes-gum-recession

What Causes Gum Recession?

Part of the reason that gum recession can happen, even if you have good oral health habits, comes down to how it happens. Here are a few scenarios that can lead to recession:

Insufficient Dental Care: Skipping or slacking on your regular dental hygiene habits makes it much easier for plague to turn into tartar. This hard substance builds on and between your teeth, and can only be removed at a professional dental cleaning. Tartar increases the likelihood of gum recession. So keep up your daily habits like regular brushing, flossing and rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash to keep tartar buildup to a minimum.

Periodontal Disease: Bacterial infections can destroy gum tissue and the supporting boney tissue that hold the teeth in place. Regular checkups, healthy dietary choices, and proper oral hygiene routines are paramount to preventing gum infection.

many-factors-that-can-cause-gum-recession

Remember this: even if you have an otherwise healthy mouth, and stay regular with your oral hygiene, there are many other factors that can cause your gums to start receding:

Genetics: Some people are more susceptible to gum disease. Some people have thinner or weaker gum tissue to start with. Others have larger, more prominent roots. Some studies show that approximately 30% of the population are predisposed to gum recession, regardless of how well they care for their teeth (1,2).

Brushing Too Hard: Aggressive tooth brushing creates a high risk for gum recession. This includes several components: Trauma to the gum tissue associated with brushing too hard, using too hard a toothbrush, or cross friction as you brush sideways across the gums. These factors can cause the enamel on the teeth to wear away, and irritate the gums, causing them to recede. The safest way to brush is gently, with a soft-bristled brush, in an up and down motion (1,2). Remember how we’ve talked about the benefits of flossing and using an electric toothbrush? It’s all making sense now since we don’t typically brush as hard when using an electric toothbrush.

Hormonal Changes: Women are more susceptible to gum recession related to hormone fluctuations. Across the course of a woman’s life, changes that accompany puberty, pregnancy and menopause can make gums more sensitive and vulnerable to gum recession.

Tobacco Products: Tobacco users develop sticky plaques on their teeth, which also can lead to gum recession.

Grinding and Clenching: The added forces and pressure placed on the teeth that are associated with clenching and grinding of the jaw serve to irritate the gums at their attachment site on the bone, causing the gum tissue to recede from the base of the tooth. A custom-made mouth guard can be helpful for night bruxism. (Ask us for more information specific to you.)

Crooked Teeth and Misaligned Bite: If teeth don’t come together evenly, increased and imbalanced forces are placed upon the gums and bones, increasing the probability that the gums will recede (1, 2). Invisalign is a great alternative to braces to help straighten issues with crooked teeth or bite.

Lip or Tongue Piercings: Jewelry in or around the oral cavity can cause repetitive irritation or rubbing of the gums, leading to wearing away of the affected gum tissue.

Trauma to the Gum Tissue: Traumatic injury to the teeth or gums from events such as accidents, fights, sports injuries or falls can lead to gum recession.

Call Hagen Dental Practice Today for all Your Oral Health Needs

Do you have questions about the prevention or treatment of gum recession? We’d love to answer any of the questions you have regarding your gums or your dental health! Schedule your next visit with Hagen Dental by calling us at (513) 251-5500.

Sources:

  1. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/receding_gums_causes-treatments#1
  2. http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/oral-care/problems/gums-receding.htm
  3. http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/gum-disease/article/receding-gums-and-treatment-and-causes-0214