You may like the way oral piercings look, but you might not like the dangerous risks that come with them. Because your mouth contains millions of bacteria, infection and swelling often accompany oral piercings. It can really take the fun out of this popular way to express yourself. Make sure you think it through before getting a piercing, to make sure you’re ready for the responsibility and willing to perform tasks to keep the area healthy. This information will help educate you about what oral piercings involve.
What kinds of things can an oral piercing cause?
Piercing your lips, tongue, cheeks, or uvula can interfere with speaking, swallowing, or chewing. It can also cause:
- Infection – the moisture in your mouth is home to lots of active bacteria, so it’s a perfect place for infection. Infections can be life-threatening if untreated, and associated swelling can block your airway.
- Nerve damage – your tongue may be numb after piercing, which may be temporary or permanent. It can affect your ability to taste and move your mouth.
- Gum, teeth, and fillings damage – biting or playing with your piercing can harm your gums and crack or scratch your teeth. Piercings can also damage fillings, and cause tooth sensitivity.
- Allergic reactions – some people are allergic to metals and have reactions at the piercing site.
- Drooling – tongue piercings can increase saliva production and cause drooling.
- Dental care problems – oral jewelry can hamper dental care and block X-rays.
What should I do if I already have piercings?
If you have any oral piercings, contact your dentist or doctor right away if you have signs of infection. These include swelling, pain, fever, chills, or red streaks near the piercing site. Always keep the piercing area clean and use a mouth rinse after meals. Avoid clicking the jewelry against your teeth and gums, and remove it before participating in sports. See your dentist regularly for checkups.