Oral piercings and dental health

  • Infection and mouth piercing

  • Long and short-term risks with piercing

  • Possible permanent numbness of the tongue

Making a statement – we can all be good at it, whether with words, actions or fashion.

But some popular trends can come at a price, as highlighted by leading dental charity, the Oral Health Foundation.

The charity wants everyone who has or is considering getting, an oral piercing to understand the risks associated with them and take the necessary steps to avoid the health problems which are related to them.

Oral piercings and dental health

Oral piercings and dental health

The foundation was prompted to act after discovering their remarkable popularity.

Research carried out by the Oral Health Foundation found tongue piercings are particularly popular, with 43 per cent of people with oral piercings opting for them. A third (33 per cent) of those polled had a lip piercing, with cheek (3 per cent) and gum (7 per cent) piercings much less common.

The poll also found that 13 per cent of people with oral piercings had more than one, highlighting the current popularity of the trend.

Oral piercings – the dangers

But this current fashionable form of self-expression can create both long and short-term damage to mouths, a point taken up by Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE.

In an article published on the Oral Health Foundation website, Dr Carter says: “Our research has found that a sizeable amount of people are choosing to have oral piercings, they have become a very fashionable form of self-expression, but not everybody realises the potential long and short term damages that they can have on our mouths.

“Oral piercings are a significant cause of chipped or cracked teeth due to trauma when they come into contact with the teeth; many people even have a habit of biting or playing with their piercing which can be extremely dangerous and can often lead to extensive dental work.

“The mouth also contains a huge amount of bacteria and is an ideal place for infection to arise, this is especially the case with new piercings as it is an open wound and needs constant care and attention to prevent infection. An infection can quickly lead to other more serious conditions such as blood poisoning (septicaemia).”

lip piercing

And the warnings go on: “The act of getting a piercing is itself very dangerous as if done incorrectly can cause issues such as permanent numbness of the tongue, blood loss, excessive swelling which affects breathing and swallowing and in severe cases an increased risk of HIV and Hepatitis B,” he adds.

Along with the foundation, North Street Dental wishes to make people considering oral piercings to do their homework and check out the health risks associated with this form of ‘body art’.

Dr Carter makes the point that “on a day to day basis oral piercings can interfere with such basic functions such as speech, chewing and swallowing.”

For those with existing oral piercings, our advice is to keep them as clean as possible and using an antiseptic mouthwash regularly can help to do this.

Finally, if you do have an oral piercing, try to avoid playing or fiddling with it and having it come into contact with teeth, especially when speaking or eating as this leads to teeth wear, which could result in a dental intervention.

And, make sure you visit your dentist regularly so potential problems can be headed off.

If you’re looking for a new dental experience, please feel free to check us out. We are a private, independent practice in the heart of the Black Country, situated right opposite Teddy Gray’s famous herbal sweets factory in North Street, Dudley.

We have a private car park and a drop-off point right next to the reception door for those who need it.