Oral Piercings: Are They Safe?

Piercings have long been a popular fashion statement, especially among young generations. While piercings that involve flesh or cartilage can be safely and successfully completed by a trained professional, oral piercings can be dangerous. The majority of piercing professionals don’t have training in dentistry and are not aware of how they could be damaging the gums, teeth and/or surrounding nerves. Therefore, if your piercing professional isn’t also a dental professional, it’s best to stay away from oral piercings.

Negative Consequences of Oral Piercings

  1. Infections
The risk for infections can be high because you have to use your fingers to change and clean the piercing inside of your mouth, introducing even more bacteria into the area. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), millions of bacteria live in the mouth because it provides a hospitable environment for them to thrive.
  1. Gum inflammation
Increased inflammation is common, because the metallic materials used in most jewelry may irritate the gums. Depending on the piercing, the jewelry may rub against the teeth and gums creating painful friction, resulting in inflammation and/or recession.
  1. Enamel loss, chips, and cracks
If the piercing of choice is a tooth piercing, the enamel will most likely be shaved down to accommodate the accessory. Unnecessary removal of enamel is never good for your teeth, because the enamel is your protective outer tooth surface, not to mention that enamel loss increases the risk for tooth decay. Loss of enamel may even lead to tooth sensitivity. Additionally, if the tooth is being altered by anyone other than a dental professional, the risk for chips and cracks could be imminent.
  1. Allergies from metals
Plenty of people don’t know that they are allergic to specific types of metals until they are exposed to them. If you are allergic to a metal in the accessory, you could have swelling and pain within your mouth.
  1. Nerve damage
Tongue piercings involve the risk for nerve damage, causing numbness which can affect speaking and eating. This damage may sometimes be irreversible.


The best way to prevent any negative consequences is to simply avoid getting an oral piercing. In the event that you do get one, there are a few precautions that you can take to avoid infection and tooth decay, including (but may not be limited to):
  1. Adhere closely to the cleaning instructions that you are given.
  2. Wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth and remove your piercing if you engage in contact sports.
  3. Use an anti-bacterial mouthwash and make sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily or as recommended.
  4. Make sure to see your dentist regularly and alert them if you have any kind of oral piercing.
Advanced DDS is a premier dental practice in Garden City, NY where our experienced dentists provide the highest quality of dental care. Schedule your dental appointment at 516-825-1100.

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