The Danger of Piercings in Your Mouth

The Danger of Piercings in Your Mouth

Body adornments are all the rage. Actual adornments go as far back as 1500 A.D., but perhaps they didn’t know the dangers. In most cases, piercings and tattoos are performed uneventfully. However, oral piercings run risks due to the number of bacteria in the oral cavity. Is your son or daughter contemplating a lip, cheek, or tongue piercing? If so, perhaps this blog will help inform their decision. If you or someone you know has questions regarding oral piercings, your dentist can attend to your concerns and share vital information on how to care for piercings.

Millions of bacteria are in your mouth, primarily residing on your tongue, making infection a common complication of oral piercings. This high concentration of bacteria and other microorganisms creates a high risk of disease, especially when the skin’s barrier is pierced. Decaying food particles and touching jewelry with unsanitary hands increase the risk of infection.

There are other complications as well. For instance, 50% of barbell-shaped piercings cause damage to the gingival tissue, leading to redness, irritation, bleeding, and infection. Periodontal infection can eventually lead to tooth loss and other complications like degeneration of the alveolar (the section of the jaw that supports the teeth). Thirty-five percent of non-barbell-type piercings presented with receding gums. This can be from the post or button of the stud continuously rubbing against the gum tissue, causing irritation and causing the tissue to recede. In 1998, the American Dental Association opposed intra-oral piercings due to these and other factors, including:

  • Blood poisoning
  • Blood clots
  • Chipped, cracked, or fractured teeth
  • Pulpal sensitivity
  • Swelling of the tongue leading to restricted breathing
  • Pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Drooling

Gum Recession

Mouth piercings are a popular trend, and many people choose to express themselves through oral jewelry. However, those who decide to get piercings in their mouth may not realize the danger it can cause to the gum tissue. Gum recession is a serious condition that can occur when a piercing is placed in the mouth for an extended period.

Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue recedes away from the teeth, exposing more of the tooth structure and root. This exposes your teeth and gums to potential damage from bacteria and other harmful elements. The receding of the gums also makes it easier for plaque and tartar to accumulate on your teeth, leading to tooth decay or cavities. If left untreated, this can lead to further loss of gum tissue and even infection or destruction of the bone surrounding your teeth.

Tooth Loss

Most people know that piercings can lead to infections, but they may not see the danger they are putting their teeth in. Piercings in the mouth can cause great damage to your teeth, including tooth loss. Not only do you risk infection by having piercings inside your mouth, but you also risk damaging your gums and even losing a tooth if the procedure isn’t done correctly.

When getting any piercing in or near the mouth, it’s essential to go to an experienced professional who knows how to perform the procedure safely and without causing harm. Piercing too deeply or too close to the bone can leave you vulnerable to infection and potentially lead to tooth loss if not handled with care.

How to Care For Your Piercing

While tongue piercing can take four to six weeks to heal completely, lip and cheek piercings can take months. If you decide on an oral piercing, it is essential to keep it clean. There are strict measures to take during the healing process, but once it is healed, you must continue to maintain good oral hygiene:

  •  Remove the piercing each night and brush it and your teeth.
  • Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash after every meal.
  • Wash hands with antibacterial soap before touching the piercing.
  •  Keep the jewelry away from your teeth and gums.


Piercings in the mouth can be dangerous for oral health, leading to gum recession, infections, and tooth loss, and may require long-term maintenance and aftercare. If you are considering a piercing, it is essential to consult with your dentist to ensure that the placement of the piercing does not put your oral health at risk.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *