Oral Piercings: The Hidden Risks to Your Health


Tongue and lip rings may be trendy, but is a fashion statement truly worth the risks it may present to your health? Educate yourself on the potential pitfalls that oral piercings can have for your oral health as well as your general well-being. If you still decide to proceed with an oral piercing, be sure that you are taking all necessary precautions to minimize your risks.

As is the case with any piercing or opening in the soft tissues of the mouth, a lip or tongue ring does present the risk of infection. This risk may be more pronounced in the mouth, which is a warm, moist environment that is hospitable to bacteria growth. If you get an oral piercing, it’s essential to keep it clean to limit the likelihood of infection. Pain and swelling can also be problematic with a lip or tongue piercing, and the latter can be life-threatening if the swelling is severe enough to restrict your airway’s opening.

Similarly, patients who have sensitivities to certain metals can experience an allergic reaction to an oral piercing, and this can also cause swelling.

A lip or tongue piercing can also damage your teeth, which might require a dentist to place a restoration of some sort to address the damage. Many people with tongue piercings get in the bad habit of running the piercing along their teeth, and doing so can cause chips and cracks in the teeth. Oral piercings may also cause lacerations or other injuries in the soft oral tissues.

Depending on the location of the piercing, it can also be an obstruction in imaging needed by your dentist for your care, like x-rays. It can also cause you to drool excessively, and you may experience some nerve damage from the piercing, although this typically reverses with time.

If you already have an oral piercing, be sure that you know how to care for it properly. Check in with us for tips and suggestions for keeping your mouth as healthy as possible.