06 Oct Oral Piercings: The Hidden Risks to Your Health
Do you have a tongue or lip piercing? While piercings, to some, are a form of self-expression, they do present risks to a patient’s oral and dental health. If you have a piercing or are considering getting an oral piercing, consider the following advice from our dentist.
Dental Health and Oral Piercings
With proper care and professional cleanings, your teeth can last for a lifetime. However, cosmetic alterations like piercings and bad habits can affect the health of your entire mouth—especially your teeth and gums. [pullquote]Cosmetic alterations like piercings and bad habits can affect the health of your entire mouth—especially your teeth and gums.[/pullquote]
Many patients with oral piercings on their tongues, lips, or those with dermal metal jewelry in the cheeks or chin are surprised to learn that they have an increased risk for oral infections. Of course, right after receiving a piercing or dermal modification is the most common period when an infection can develop. This is because any type of body modification in or near the mouth inflicts some trauma on tissues and requires the body to heal after the initial alteration. There are millions of oral bacteria in the mouth that can infect open wounds such as those caused by a piercing. Patients who do not practice thorough oral hygiene also increase their risk for infection.
In addition to the risk for infection, oral modifications in the form of piercings or dermal jewelry, can affect the health of teeth. For example, many people with tongue piercings develop a nervous habit of flicking or rolling their tongue (piercing included) against teeth. Since piercings are made of metal, this habit over time will weaken tooth enamel by wearing tiny cracks into the surface of teeth. Tooth enamel, comprised of strong minerals, is a tooth’s natural defense against harmful oral bacteria the cause decay. When enamel is damaged, it is irreversible and increases the risk for developing cavities.
Our dentist encourages our patients to think twice before receiving an oral piercing. Patients who currently have piercings should schedule routine checkups and cleanings and practice proper oral hygiene to minimize their risk for dental health complications.
Call our office at 972-458-2464 today to reserve an appointment.