One of the great things about our modern era is the way to safely alter our bodies to look pretty much anyway we would like within reason. However, a popular mode of fashion and expression can often have negative effects on our teeth and oral health. This is not meant to dissuade you from wearing oral piercings or getting one, but simply let you know about additional precautions you may need to take if you consider getting one. It is well-established that tongue and lip piercings can degrade teeth, gums, and other oral health problems, if not cared for properly.
The Environment Of Your Mouth
If you have not gotten a piercing in your lip or tongue yet and are considering one, there is always the risk of pain, swelling, and damage to your nerves and blood vessels in your tongue or lip. The inside of your mouth, when producing saliva normally, is a warm, moist environment filled with bacteria and may be an ideal place for infection. This infection can become life threatening, particularly if you get encarditis, which is an infection of the heart and its valves. This can happen if bacteria from your mouth get into your bloodstream, which can happen, especially if a blood vessel is punctured. Also, there is a chance that your tongue may swell and potentially block your airway. Damage to a blood vessel may also result in serious blood loss, which can also be dangerous and life threatening.
This makes your mouth slightly less than ideal for a piercing. Additionally, the temptation to play with your piercing may result in cracked or damaged teeth, fillings, and other work. If you currently have a piercing or are considering get one, special care must be taken not to play with it excessively.
Nerve damage can occur in the tongue as well. Most nerve damage is temporary, but sometimes it can become permanent, lessening your sense of taste and ability to move your tongue.
Other Potential Effects
If you are prone to metal sensitivities, which affect a small portion of the population depending on the metal. Certain implants, such as dental or orthopedic implants, have become recognized as causing an allergic reaction in certain patients. If you are aware of any sort of metal allergy, it is very important to know what sort of piercing you are getting or eschew it entirely.
Also, as your mouth is designed to be part of your digestive tract, the piercing, especially a tongue or inner piercing may result in excessive saliva production which can be an embarrassing problem.
Piercings, also due to their metallicity, can interfere with dental X-rays. They may also become loose and become a choking hazard if you are not careful.
Now, these are all the negatives that can occur, so what can you do to mitigate them or head them off? Quite a bit!
First, if you have any problems, especially if you may have an infection or suspect you may have an infection, such as fever, chills, shaking, or irregular coloring around the piercing site, call your doctor or dentist right away! If there is profuse bleeding or you feel faint, severely ills, or are having trouble breathing / tightness in the chest, go to the emergency room or call 911.
One of the biggest preventative steps you can take is keeping the piercing site clean by regularly rinsing out your mouth and removing it to clean it.
Be aware of your piercings location and try not to play with it, as tempting as it may be.
Always make sure your piercing is tightly fitted, so it does not come loose and becomes a choking hazard. Make sure your hands are clean before this, as piercing sites are already sensitive to bacterial intrusion.
If you are going to be participating in any activity that may become rough or physical, such as playing contact sports, participating in martial arts, or going to a concert where there may be pushing and shoving (such as a mosh pit), be sure to remove your piercings and take proper precautions such as a mouth guard.
And as always, see your dentist regularly and maintain proper dental hygiene.