Oral Piercings: The hidden risks to your health

It’s recently become trendy for young people to become more adventurous with piercings. Ears and even nostrils are merely ho-hum, and oral piercings are rising in popularity among patients seeking a more dramatic effect.

However, oral piercings may pose health risks for patients. From gum disease to endocarditis, a number of negative outcomes can follow an oral piercing.

For these reasons, the best dentists in Plano discourage their patients from having their tongues, lips or cheeks pierced.

An increased likelihood of gum disease is among the primary oral piercing-related concerns for dentists. The jewelry may irritate the gums and cause inflammation. Similarly, the jewelry can cause chips or cracks in the teeth. The barbells used in tongue piercings are most often the culprit in such damage.

The piercing site can also become a portal for infection-causing bacteria. Not only can the piercing itself become infected, the bacteria may enter the bloodstream and lead to endocarditis, a condition in which the heart or its valves become inflamed.

At the same time, oral piercings may facilitate the transmission of diseases such as herpes and hepatitis. Complications such as excessive bleeding or swelling may also present problems for patients.

Of course, dentists realize that some patients will still get oral piercings even when the dentist advises against it. If patients insist on proceeding, however, it’s important to take steps to keep the piercing clean, such as rinsing with mouthwash after every meal.

Additionally, patients who smoke should give up their cigarettes at least until the oral piercing heals (and ideally beyond that!).

In the weeks immediately following the piercing, patients also should keep an eye out for symptoms that indicate a problem, such as excessive pain or pus at the piercing site.

Even if an oral piercing is in style, patients should weigh the serious risks before moving forward. Talk to your dentist to get a better idea of the problems that may arise.