Oral Piercings Pose an Oral Health Risk

family dentistry in Seaside

At our family dentistry in Seaside, Dr. Santos understands the importance of self-expression for his patients. Whether a stylish new haircut, bold tattoo, or tongue or lip piercing, patients need to feel free to express themselves however they see fit. Unfortunately, many patients that decide to get a tongue or lip piercing do so without thinking about the impact it might have on their oral health.

Tongue and lip piercing can significantly impact dental health and cause permanent damage. If you’re considering a facial piercing, let’s look at some of the complications the procedure can cause that may impact your oral health.

Issues with Oral Piercing

While midline tongue piercings are the most popular, any piercing in the tongue or on the lips can cause problems for your oral health. Each of these locations increases your risk of a different set of oral health problems and the complications the piercings can cause on their own. These issues can include:

  • Swelling
  • Abscess
  • Infection
  • Drooling
  • Excessive saliva
  • Nerve damage
  • Trouble speaking or swallowing
  • Problems breathing
  • Bleeding
  • Allergic reaction

Once the wound has healed, the piercing can increase your risk for long-term oral health problems.

Damaged Teeth

Your teeth are incredibly resilient, but they’re not designed to interact with a hard metal object daily. Playing with oral jewelry by running it back and forth over your teeth, or biting down on it while eating, can cause your teeth to chip, crack, or break. Having a hard metal object scrape against your enamel wears down your teeth’s outer protection, making them more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities.

Gum Recession

When placed too close to the gum line, the constant irritation of a metal piercing can cause your gums to pull away from the base of your teeth. Gum recession is a serious issue that requires treatment at our family dentistry in Seaside. Studies have shown that 44 percent of people with an oral piercing experience some degree of gum recession, while only 7 percent of people without a piercing experience the issue.

When gums recede, they create a pocket at the base of a tooth that allows harmful oral bacteria to attack the roots that hold the tooth in position. If allowed to progress, the tooth’s roots can become damaged, leading to permanent tooth loss. A gum graft may be necessary to treat gum recession.

Gum Disease

Patients with oral piercing have a higher risk of developing gum disease. The mouth acts like a gateway where harmful oral bacteria can enter the body. By weakening your oral health, you increase the risk of this bacteria leading to inflammation and developing early-stage gingivitis or late-stage periodontitis.

Tips for Lowering Your Risk

Now that you know the risks that come with oral piercings, you can take a few steps that will help you avoid any problems and avoid needing to visit our family dentistry in Seaside for more than a cleaning and exam.

  • Keep your piercing clean. Rinse your mouth after each meal to remove any lingering debris accumulated around the piercing.
  • Avoid playing with your oral piercing and rubbing it against your teeth.
  • Choose a lightweight fixture so there’s less risk of breaking or swallowing the pieces
  • Practice quality oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing
  • Keep regular appointments at our family dentistry in Seaside for checkups and cleanings
  • Inform Dr. Santos if your piercing is causing any problems eating or if it has become inflamed or irritated