Oral piercings are “the thing” nowadays. They are very popular, but if you are thinking about getting an oral piercing – one on your lip, tongue, or in another part of your mouth – there are some important things you should know about taking care of your oral health after you get your piercing, as well as the cosmetic effects a piercing can have on your teeth and gums.
What are the problems that can come with oral piercings?
Besides damage to your teeth, such as chips and cracks (which can lead to a tooth infection and other problems), there are other risks of having an oral piercing:
- It can rub against your gums, causing recession and damage.
- It can damage crowns or other restorative dental work.
- It can make it difficult to chew, swallow, and even talk, as oral jewelry can lead to excessive saliva.
Oral piercings can also cause serious health problems, such as:
- Infection, caused by bacteria in your mouth getting into the piercing. The risk of infection increases if you smoke.
- Inflammation of the heart (endocarditis), which is caused by bacteria going from your mouth to the piercing spot into your blood and then into your heart.
- Hepatitis B and C, which can result when a dirty needle is used for the piercing.
How to care for an oral piercing
The most important thing to do when you have an oral piercing is to keep it (and your mouth) clean! Brush and floss your teeth often, and it is more important now than ever that you see your dentist so he or she can check for any issues your piercing may be causing.
You should also avoid tobacco products and avoid playing with your oral piercing. Take your piercing out if you’ll be playing sports or participating in any strenuous activity where the piercing might get caught on something or smash into your teeth. And, avoid putting objects such as pen tips and pencils, which can carry bacteria, into your mouth.