If you get a tongue or lip piercing, you’re putting your mouth in danger. Oral piercings can be hazardous to your teeth and gums. If you already have a piercing, be extra careful in your oral hygiene behaviors to prevent major dental and health complications.

Infections

Oral piercings can become infected. Stainless steel studs have been known to collect more bacteria than plastic studs, increasing the risk of infection. If a piercing needle is not sterilized, infections like hepatitis can be passed along. When your tongue gets punctured, harmful bacteria from your tongue and the needle can enter your bloodstream, causing toxic shock syndrome, blood poisoning, and other health problems. To prevent complications, make sure the piercer is using a fresh needle.

Healing

A piercing takes a long time to heal. During the recovery process, your tongue, lips, and gums may become swollen. This makes it difficult to speak, eat, and drink. Excessive swelling can also block your airway. In addition, you may have trouble swallowing, because the jewelry can stimulate saliva production. Ask Dr. Locke about proper oral hygiene while your piercing is healing. Give your wound enough time to heal, and gently rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash.

Cracked teeth and gum disease

Long-term consequences of oral piercings include chipped teeth and gum disease. When you eat, talk, and swallow, the stud is going to hit the back of your teeth. Accidentally biting a stud can crack your teeth. A minor fracture can chip part of your enamel, but major cracks may need a crown or root canal. When the jewelry touches your gums, it can also irritate and injure your gum tissue.

Before getting oral jewelry, you need to make sure your mouth is healthy. Ask Dr. Locke to check for problems and how to keep your mouth healthy following a piercing. Schedule an appointment with our dental office in Waco, Texas at (254) 776-4888.