In today’s society, there’s a lot of hype over tattoos and piercings; in fact, some of you may have even had a tongue piercing at one point in your life or this very moment. The problem is, tongue piercings are one of the worst piercings anyone can ever get for their body. For many, it’s a trendy way to express yourself. For others, it’s a great way to lose a lot of money, weaken your oral health, and invest in various dental procedures to fix the damage. Continue reading to learn more about tongue piercings and how they can be detrimental to your oral health.
Germs Have Communities?
Did you know that tongue piercings are one of the major causes of gum recession, gingivitis, and other cringe-worthy oral ailments? Unfortunately, that’s not the only issue of tongue piercings; bacteria’s favourite place to lounge and relax takes place right on the stud of the piercing. It turns out that bacterium set up communities called biofilms on the surface of the stud or barbell. A biofilm is a group of microorganisms in which cells stick to each other on a surface, hence, the stud or barbell. So, as bacteria live on this shiny, metal piercing, it can aid in many oral ailments. The piercing itself causes chipped teeth as people tend to run their tongue and the jewellery against the teeth and even bite down on the piercing out of habit, causing the enamel to wear away and chip. Those with shorter barbells especially cause chipped teeth as it is easier to position between the teeth, scraping the enamel away. The longer barbells can accelerate gum recession because it reaches and tugs down on the gum line, slowly revealing more and more of the tooth root which can easily decay from all the bacteria on the stud.
Where Did My Taste Buds Go?
Imagine going in to get your tongue pierced, and the needle goes through the wrong way, or the piercing gets infected. What happens then? There can be permanent nerve damage or inflammation at the piercing site. Some people even lose some of their taste buds because of the piercing damage to the tongue. It is even possible for a piercing parlour to damage the tongue to the point of permanent numbness. This can cause future issues with eating, drinking, and talking. It can make it difficult to talk and develop speech impediments that you may have never had before.
Another negative factor about tongue piercings is that they can encourage bad breath. The tongue always has some bacteria living on it, which is why many dentists recommend using a tongue scraper before brushing your teeth to effectively clean the tongue and scrape off all that bad bacteria that cause plaque, bad breath, and tooth decay. A tongue piercing is just like any other piercing. To keep from getting infected, you have to be diligent about cleaning the jewellery and the tongue to ward off infection and bad breath.
Here are some more negative effects of tongue piercing:
- Diastema – This is when the jewellery causes a space between your two upper front teeth.
- Excessive drooling – The piercing causes an increase in the production of saliva. While saliva is good for your teeth and oral health, too much can be an issue.
- Allergic reactions – Many people don’t realize they may be allergic to the type of material the jewellery is made out of, which can cause swelling or other infections in the mouth.
- Infections – If the piercing has been performed poorly or incorrectly or has not been maintained well, it can cause infections anywhere from mild to severe and affect other parts of the body if left untreated.
Contact Dr Kelly Fisher!
If you or a loved one have a tongue piercing or are considering getting one, schedule an appointment with Dr Fisher to discuss all of your tongue piercing options and effects. If you happen to have an infected tongue piercing, call our office in Issaquah, WA, to speak with a friendly staff member so we can get you back on the right track to optimal oral health. Don’t forget to check with your dentist before getting any oral piercing!