While piercing the tongue, lip or cheek may be attractive to some, we at Allen Orthodontics in Ottawa, ON want to enlighten you on the dental health risks associated with oral piercings including infections, gum disease, damage to teeth and difficulties in daily oral functions.
Infections. Between the wound created by the piercing, the vast amount of bacteria already in the mouth and the additional bacteria from the piercing, Dr. Allen stresses that oral piercings put you at a high risk of getting an oral infection.
During the healing period of oral piercings we at Allen Orthodontics encourage you to:
- Brush after every meal and rinse with a mouthwash.
- Rinse your mouth frequently with warm salt water.
- Eat soft foods.
Gum disease. People with oral piercings—especially long-stem tongue jewelry (barbells)—have a greater risk of gum disease than those without oral piercings. Dr. Allen explains that when the jewelry comes in contact with gum tissue it causes injury as well as a recession of the gum tissue, which can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss.
Damage to teeth. Again, teeth that come in contact with mouth jewelry can chip or crack. One study in a dental journal reported that 47% of people wearing barbell tongue jewelry for 4 or more years had at least one chipped tooth.
Difficulties in daily oral functions. Tongue piercings can cause difficulty in the way a person chews and swallows food, and the way they speak. This is because the jewelry stimulates an excessive production of saliva.