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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