Oral piercings and oral risk – what they don’t tell you at the piercing parlour

Whether you think they’re a striking way to express yourself, or a barbarous body modification, there’s no denying the popularity of oral piercings is on the rise, especially amongst young people. Often when individuals chose to undergo an oral piercing, their first thought is about the aesthetic effect of the jewellery, and not the risks an oral piercing poses. Unfortunately, this means sometimes the piercing ends up infected, or even permanently damaging teeth. Oral piercings can pose a serious threat to both teeth and oral hygiene, and this is not information that is common knowledge. In fact, at least 50 percent of people with lip piercings experience injury to gums or teeth.

Primarily, oral piercings are made of metal, and therefore can cause inconvenience in dental treatment and examinations, especially regarding the taking of x-rays. This metal can also cause abrasion, wearing, chipping and sometimes even breakages in the teeth, which is not easily rectifiable. This can also lead to an increase in tooth sensitivity, which can be extremely painful and prevent individuals from enjoying their food. Our mouths are always moving, and this means the piercing is moving too, rubbing against many different surfaces in the mouth. The constant rubbing action of lip or tongue piercings against the gums can lead to gum recession, where the gums shrink back to protect against the relentless rubbing, which leaves tooth surface exposed to potential acid erosion, which can lead to sensitivity, decay and even tooth loss! Not to mention, poor oral hygiene concerning a tongue piercing can give you awful bad breath, not pleasant for anybody!

Now, this is not to say that good oral health means no oral piercings for you! Oral piercings can be made safe by regular visits to the dentist to check how the jewellery is affecting your mouth, and to monitor any damage. To avoid the risk of infection, oral piercings should be cleaned properly every day, taken out as often as you can, and worn only when wanted (there’s no need for you to sleep with piercings in!) As always, when considering an oral piercing, the first person you should take advice from is your dentist!