“Tongue piercing grabbed my attention, and I am thinking about this as a way to make a statement, but should I be concerned about my teeth? – Rick J. UTSA Student.
We received a question that got us interested because the question deals with an accessory that’s right up our alley. Tongue piercing is indeed popular among young adults, but is it safe for your mouth? We ask you consider the damage that tongue piercing can leave in your mouth.
You are more likely to get gum disease if you pierce your tongue. Researchers in Switzerland examined 14 people with tongue piercings. They discovered a higher number of instances of bleeding, receding or inflamed gums when compared to people without piercings. If the piercing was closer to the teeth, even more damage was discovered. As for people with lip piercings, their gums seemed to be unaffected by the jewelry.
LOOSE, CRACKED TEETH
People like to swirl their jewelry after a tongue piercing around in their mouth. We want you to know this kind of behavior can result in damage to your tooth enamel. If you bite down hard on your jewelry you may even crack your teeth. The chip in your tooth can expose the nerves and become very painful. If this happens, you may need a root canal.
“Call us immediately if you experience tooth pain or if there’s pain in your jaws or even your ears,” said Dr. Jason Kboudi, Advanced Smile Care. “These are clear signs that you may need a root canal to prevent further damage.”
Your mouth is home to millions of bacteria. If your piercing is performed incorrectly or gets infected, there may be other implications for your oral health.
For example, in Utah, a 19-year-old woman stopped breathing as a result of an overdose of a “date-rape drug.” Doctors said they tried to put a breathing tube down her throat, but the length of her tongue piercing made it difficult. Although her medical team eventually managed to get the tongue out of the way, one physician noted that “Her piecing could have cost her her life.”
WHAT IF I ALREADY HAVE ONE?
“If you already have a piercing, it’s imperative to keep your mouth clean. If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, make sure, at the very least, you are rinsing your mouth with water to keep food particles away,” said Dr. Jason Kboudi who leads the practice at Advanced Smile Care.
The American Dental Association recommends removing the jewelry when you play a sport and inserting a mouth guard. Also, it’s a good idea to gently talk and chew, to avoid the jewelry from hitting your teeth.
If you have a question about your teeth or your smile, we are here to help. Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org