Oral & Vision Health Blog

3 Ways Oral Piercings Can Harm Your Mouth

Can oral piercings harm your mouth? Tongue or lip rings might be tempting as a cool way to express yourself. But it’s important to weigh the risks before you make the choice to pierce. Piercings in your mouth can affect your oral health and pose risk factors for infection.

Here are three ways piercings can harm your mouth:

1. Bacteria Minefield:

Oral piercings create holes in your mouth, opening you up to infections like hepatitis. It makes sense--your mouth contains millions of bacteria. Speaking of bacteria, your toothbrush is likely home to millions of them. It's even more important to practice good oral hygiene if you have a piercing. 

Your toothbrush is gross. Find out how to keep it clean!


Wait, there’s more. Abscess, a buildup of pus from bacterial infection, is another important danger to consider. Piercings can cause an abscess to develop in the tissue surrounding the pierced site. This can open the door to blood poisoning and toxic shock syndrome, two dangerous infections.

2. Periodontal Damage:

case study on the effects of tongue piercing showed risk of gum damage, as well as chipped teeth and compromised enamel. Rubbing the barbell against your teeth can cause the gums to recede and teeth to chip. These weaken the structure of your teeth and increase the risk of tooth loss and periodontal problems.

3. Swelling and Choking:

Oral piercings can cause swelling of the tongue, uvula and throat. Swelling can constrict airways, straining or restricting oxygen flow, leading to a medical emergency. Swelling is common during the first week or two after piercing. But an allergic reaction to metal in the piercing or other medical conditions could be the cause. Be sure to see your doctor if anything feels wrong.

The bottom line is that oral piercings may look cool, but the risks associated with them are not. So, what can you do? Stay educated on the potential dangers of piercing. Be sure to practice great oral hygiene to prevent health problems. 


Clean Toothbrush Infographic: Download Ways to Keep Your Toothbrush Clean