Keeping your mouth clean and hygienic is crucial for good health. Since the mouth plays such a vital role in our everyday life, its ability to function is imperative. Cosmetic piercings that are used in or near the mouth can have serious consequences if not treated properly. Even piercings performed by professionals can still become hazardous.
A cosmetic piercing is usually made out of metal, silver or gold and can be punctured through the skin or other areas of the body. Oral piercings are piercings that exist in or around any part of the mouth. Lip and tongue piercings, while among the most popular, have a very high risk of infection.
Why Do Oral Piercings Get Infected More Than Other Piercings?
Many people have the ears pierced, but we rarely hear about a dangerous ear infection as a result of one. Although cosmetic piercings have been used for decades, oral piercings have significant risks.
A high amount of bacteria lives inside the mouth. When bacteria are trapped inside the piercing, an infection will most likely occur. New piercings that may be swollen or tender are more likely to become infected from the saliva. Kissing may also be a precursor to infection during the early days of a new piercing because bacteria are being passed from one person to the other.
How Do I Know if I Have an Infection?
Typically, an infected oral piercing will feel warm and painful. It may be more swollen or red than usual and bleeding is likely to occur. If you find it difficult to talk or swallow, there is a high chance of infection within the mouth. In addition to soreness, a bump at the front or back of the piercing may be present. In cases of severe infection, you may even experience a fever. If there is no fever present, but your tongue or the insides of your mouth are swollen and red, it is best to see a professional. Untreated infections will not go away on their own.
What Can an Oral Piercing Do to My Mouth?
Aside from the aforementioned risk of infections, oral piercings can cause stress to the mouth. Teeth conditions such as cracking or fracturing can interfere greatly with the ability to chew. Swallowing and talking can be difficult with oral piercings. Nerve sensitivity can happen when metal jewelry contracts with metal fillings. Root canals and tooth extractions are not unusual for those with tongue or lip piercings.
One of the particularly distressing concerns surrounding tongue piercings is its ability to impair breathing. A swollen tongue can make it difficult not only to talk but to breathe. If there is too much swelling, it can be difficult for a dentist to work with the mouth. Inflammation is usually a sign of infection which means medication may be necessary before dental work can even be administered Those who experience heart disease are also at an increased risk for health issues.
Will a Tongue Ring Affect My Gums?
Gum disease is a serious problem that impacts far too many people. Although it affects the gums, it also impacts teeth. When the jewelry from an oral piercing irritates the gums, this will likely cause inflammation. If this is not treated promptly, the inflammation can cause tooth loss in adults. By destroying your gums, teeth and even your jawbone can be damaged. Rather than wait to fix this type of gum problem, it’s better to treat it immediately or prevent gum disease from happening in the first place.
Tongue rings can hurt the health of anyone’s gums regardless if they’ve had gingivitis in their lifetime. Frequently those with tongue piercings have a habit of playing with the piercing inside their mouth. By biting or tapping the jewelry against teeth, you can actually physically injure your gums as well as your teeth. Gum consequences are not uncommon with people who have oral piercings.
Smoking With Oral Piercings
Smoking is bad for all oral hygiene, but especially if you have any sort of oral piercing. Depending on the person, a tongue or lip piercing can take several weeks or even months to properly heal. These types of piercings are already exposed to the mouth’s bacteria. Adding cigarette smoke to the mix can have serious consequences for oral health.
Even when lip or tongue piercings are properly cleaned and cared for, there is a high risk for infection if you smoke cigarettes. Not only are other chemicals and bacteria introduced into the area where your piercing is healing, but smoke can cause serious and excess swelling. Discomfort, redness, and swelling are all signs of an infection. If these symptoms occur, treatment is required.
Are Oral Piercings Worth It?
The appearance of one’s body is usually a personal preference, but when it comes to the safety of oral health, piercings are best left outside the body. There are potentially dangerous consequences to subjecting the mouth to a preventable infection. Even without infection, metal jewelry left inside the mouth can put your health at risk. When deciding whether an oral piercing is worth it, it’s best to gather and learn as much information about oral hygiene as possible to avoid such complications.