HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Today, the sight of an earring stud or hoop protruding from someone's tongue or lip is not an unusual spectacle. In this day and age, body piercing has become a common trend, especially among young adults. Some see it as art while others view it as self-expression; yet in the dental community, oral piercing, which involves the tongue, lips or cheeks, has been implicated in a number of harmful dental
conditions and could be a potential risk to your health. The Pennsylvania
Dental Association advises you to see your dentist to discuss these harmful
risks before making any decisions about oral piercing.
Though oral piercing may look cool, it carries a high potential for many dental and health problems later on. If you are considering oral piercing consider the following facts first:
-- Infection - It is not uncommon to experience infection once the skin
and oral tissues have opened. Handling jewelry once it has been
placed also increases the chance of an infection in the mouth.
-- Prolonged Bleeding - Piercing can damage the tongue's blood vessels,
causing prolonged bleeding.
-- Damage to teeth and gums - Metal jewelry, if placed so that it makes
constant contact with gums, can cause the soft tissues to recede and
may chip, scratch or crack teeth if it strikes them.
-- Swelling and possible nerve damage - Unlike the ear, which heals
quickly, the tongue is in constant motion. This inevitably slows and
complicates the healing process, making swelling and nerve damage
Oral piercing can produce other serious side effects to your health, including airway obstruction caused by swallowing jewelry, speech impediments and even factors in serious bloodborne diseases such as hepatitis B, C, D and G.
In addition, oral piercing may cause endocarditis, a serious inflammation of the heart valves and tissues that occurs when bacteria enters the bloodstream.
For more information about oral piercing, visit the PDA's Web site at http://www.padental.org.
Source: Pennsylvania Dental Association