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Can Oral Piercings Prick Good Oral Health?

Aug 05, 2015

By Dean George

One doesn’t have to be a master of detection like Sherlock Holmes to detect the rise in oral piercings. Viewed as a form of self-expression where the mouth and lip is the canvas and the piercing is the artwork, oral piercing or tongue splitting may be trendy, but it can also be dangerous.

Oral Piercings and Your Oral Health

One Canadian dental expert has said that lip and tongue piercings can lead to fractured teeth, gum recession, bone loss and even frontal tooth loss.

“People who are getting the piercings don’t know about the oral health risk factors associated with it,” said Liran Levin, director of the periodontology division at the University of Alberta’s School of Dentistry. “Through our research, we’ve found that a vast majority are unaware of the risks,” he said.

For example, consider tongue piercing. In addition to interfering with speaking, chewing or swallowing, Web MD says that tongue piercing can:

  • Lead to infections like hepatitis B and C, herpes simplex virus, endocarditis, pain and swelling
  • Damage gums, teeth and fillings
  • Create allergic reactions to metals
  • Cause nerve damage
  • Result in excessive drooling because the jewelry stimulates excess saliva
  • Alter taste of food and drink  

Depending upon the area being pierced, it can also result in hemorrhaging, nerve damage and infectious diseases like HIV and tetanus.

In a study entitled, “Alveolar bone loss and gingival recession due to lip and tongue piercing,” Levin says his research showed swelling of the tongue was reported by 51.9 percent of study participants, and 45.7 percent experienced tongue bleeding.

Nearly 58 percent of research participants said they were unaware of the dangers posed by mouth piercings. Fourteen percent of study participants had fractured teeth as a result of their piercings and over 26 percent experienced gum recession.

Oral piercings can also interfere with regular brushing and flossing and complicate dental visits. Even if a dentist can manipulate around the piercing, the jewelry can still block X-rays and end up costing unnecessary time and money.

If you already have a piercing, recommends the following:

  • Contact your dentist or physician immediately if you show any signs of infection
  • Try to avoid clicking the jewelry against your teeth and avoid putting stress on the piercing
  • Use a mouth rinse after every meal to keep the piercing site clean
  • Remove piercing jewelry before playing sports
  • See your dentist regularly, and remember to brush twice a day and floss daily

Whether you already have an oral piercing or are considering one, we have dental plans that can help with regular oral checkups. To see plans available in your area, click here.

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Copyright 2015, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC©

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