By Kate Ranta on Feb 17, 2015 @ 10:37 AM
Adding embellishments on your body by getting tattooed and pierced can be super cool and fulfilling. Both are forms of self-expression and seemingly harmless—or are they? The dangers of tattooing are a whole other topic, but what about oral piercings? A ring in your lip or uvula, a rod through your tongue or cheek…no big deal, right?
What you may not know, is that oral piercings can cause the following:
- Damage to your mouth. A common habit among those with oral piercings is to bite and play with the piercing. This can harm your gums, crack or scratch your teeth, damaging the enamel, and even damage fillings. And once these things happen, it’s expensive to fix them if they can be fixed.
- Nerve damage. This is especially a risk with tongue piercings. Nerve damage due to the piercing going through the tongue is usually temporary but can be permanent. The injury to the nerve may affect your sense of taste and/or your speech.
- Drooling. The foreign object in your mouth may increase saliva production, causing you to drool.
- Sensitivity to metals. Some people may have an allergic reaction to the metal piercings are made of—or an allergic reaction at the piercing site.
If you already have piercings, there are steps you can and should take to protect your mouth:
- If you have any signs of infection—pain, fever, swelling, chills—immediately see your dentist or physician.
- Try not to click the piercing against your teeth to avoid cracking, scratching or chipping them.
- Keep the area around the piercing clean. Make sure pieces of food don’t get stuck on the jewelry. Mouth washes can help with that.
- Check the tightness of the piercing every so often. If it comes off, you could swallow or even choke on it.
As cool as these piercings can look, your oral health is important! Get your regular dental cleanings. Brush twice a day and floss daily, too. And most importantly do your research. An oral piercing won't look cool if your teeth are all jacked up!