Dangers of tongue piercing
Dangers of Tongue Piercing
Believe it or not, tongue piercings continue to grow in popularity! So are visits to our office because of them. Seemingly harmless, tongue piercing can have serious consequences for your dental health. Before adorning your tongue with jewelry, consider the risk to your teeth and tongue
While piercing the tongue, lip, or cheek may be attractive to some, there are a number of health-related risks associated with oral piercing, including:
Infections. The wound created by piercing, the vast amount of bacteria in the mouth, and the introduction of additional bacteria from handling the jewelry all work to increase the risk of infections. Infection from tongue piercing the tongue is covered with bacteria, and when pierced, that bacteria can get in the blood stream and underlying tongue tissues. This can cause a serious infection. Unfortunately, tongue piercing jewelry wearers may not be aware of a problem since the symptoms of infection, such as swelling, redness, and pain, are quite similar to the after effects of the piercing itself. If you have certain health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, joint replacements or congenital heart conditions, you will be even more susceptible to developing infection. Bacteria can reach your heart and cause a variety of health problems. A dentist or doctor should be consulted at the very first sign of infection… Transmission of diseases. Oral piercing is a potential risk factor for the transmission of herpes simplex virus and hepatitis B and C. Oral and tongue piercings are a potential risk factor for the transmission of hepatitis B and C and herpes simplex virus… Since the tongue repeatedly rubs against the same areas, people with tongue piercings may develop mouth ulcers from constant irritation. These ulcers can result in oral cancer. Precancerous ulcers can only be detected during an oral cancer screening by the dentist.
Oral Cancer Patients with a tongue piercing may develop ulcers in the oral cavity from constant irritation. These ulcers can possibly progress to oral cancer. Precancerous ulcers can be detected during an oral cancer screening by your dentist. For patients with a tongue piercing, it is doubly important to see your dentist regularly.
Nerve damage/ prolonged bleeding. Numbness or loss of sensation at the site of the piercing or movement problems (for pierced tongues) can occur if nerves have been damaged. Blood vessels can be punctured leading to prolonged bleeding.Tongue swelling following piercing can be severe enough to block the airway and make breathing difficult.
Gum disease. People with oral piercings have a greater risk of gum disease than those without oral piercings. The jewelry can come into contact with gum tissue causing injury as well as a recession of the gum tissue, which can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss. People with a tongue piercing are at increased risk of periodontal disease compared to those without a tongue piercing. Recent studies have demonstrated that the gums inside the front of the mouth are more likely to recede if the tongue is pierced. This is caused by repeatedly pushing the piercing against the front teeth. When gums recede, the bone underneath is reabsorbed by the body. This can loosen the teeth and ultimately cause them to fall out.
Damage to teeth. Teeth that come into 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. People chip teeth on tongue piercings while eating, sleeping, talking and chewing on the jewelry. The fracture can be confined to the enamel of the tooth and require just a simple filling or it may go deeper into the tooth, which may require a root canal, tooth extraction, or crown. This can often happen when a person carelessly biting on the tongue jewelry during chewing or sleeping. Dentists also suggest that a piercing could fracture some types of restorations, such as crowns made of porcelain or porcelain and metal. Some recommend acrylic balls or barbells, rather than metal ones.
Difficulties in daily oral functions. Tongue piercing can result in difficulty chewing and swallowing food and can result in difficulty in speaking clearly and enunciating properly, this is because the jewelry stimulates an excessive production of saliva. Temporary or permanent drooling is another consequence of increased saliva production. Taste can also be altered. It is not unusual for the tongue to swell after being punctured. Jewelry that becomes loose in the mouth can become a choking hazard and, if swallowed, can result in injury to the digestive track or lungs.
Allergic reaction to metal. A hypersensitivity reaction — called allergic contact dermatitis — to the metal in the jewelry can occur in susceptible people. Some types of tongue piercings are not high quality surgical grade stainless steel and a person can experience an allergic reaction even if they do not typically have metal allergies. Please be aware of the type of tongue piercing being placed before going ahead with it. Make sure that the piercer uses the right kind of metal, such as surgical-grade stainless steel.