You may not have guessed it (or you may have), but having a tongue or lip piercing can actually harm both your overall and oral health.
Beyond your general health, mouth piercings can negatively impact oral health by causing the following issues:
- Gum recession
- Airway obstruction
- Chipped teeth
These issues are more common than you might think. A study found that between 40 and 50% of people with a lip piercing and 44% of people with a tongue piercing experience gum recession. In comparison, amongst adults without lip piercings, just 7% experience gum recession. The same study found that 26% of people with tongue piercings had some kind of damage to their teeth.
If you experience gum recession, you might want to consider receiving a gum graft.
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What if I currently have an oral piercing?
If you already have an oral piercing, there are ways that you can decrease the risk of oral health issues. Making a habit of good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing twice per day, brushing with toothpaste that includes fluoride and making sure your mouthwash is alcohol-free, are a couple of good tips.
Equally as important, is keeping the piercing site clean and being aware of any signs of possible concerns. Things like pain, swelling, unusual discharges or tenderness, are all signs to watch for.
Other than not getting an oral piercing, the best way to keep a healthy mouth is through good oral hygiene and routine trips to the dentist. For those who do have an oral piercing, your dentist can offer advice on the best way to care for it.
Below is an image from treatment of gum recession due to an oral piercing: