Piercings are a trendy way for teenagers to fit in with their friends and express themselves. Teens can pierce just about any part of their body, but it can be particularly concerning when your child gets an oral piercing. Tongue, lip and cheek piercings can damage teeth, gums and cause infections that can lead to more serious illnesses. The bottom line is that oral piercings may look cool, but they can cause a lot of issues down the road.
Mouths are full of millions of types of bacteria, and by exposing an open wound like an oral piercing to bacteria can lead to infection and pain. If not treated, an infection can spread and cause major illnesses down the road.
If your child gets their tongue pierced, they may get minor nerve damage. Simple nerve damage to the tongue will make their tongue feel numb for a few hours after the piercing. Sometimes, the numbness can last much longer and require an appointment with a doctor or dentist. Nerve damage can even affect their sense of taste.
A tongue piercing can increase saliva production and cause excessive drooling. There’s nothing cooler than a constant stream of spittle on your shirt.
Hard metal oral piercings often clack against nearby teeth, and can cause serious damage. It is common for those with oral piercings to play with their piercing by moving it around with their tongue or clicking it against their teeth. This can cause them to chip, scratch or lose their teeth. Oral piercings can also damage dental filling and sealants.
The National Institutes of Health have identified oral piercings as a possible factor in transmitting hepatitis B, C, D and G.
To lower their risk of infection, have your child clean their oral piercing once per day. Make sure that before they clean it, they thoroughly wash their hands to avoid introducing any germs into their mouth. Unclean piercings can collect food debris and begin to smell, and taste awful.
If they play sports make sure that they remove their piercing before hitting the field or court. Dental injuries are one of the most common injury in youth sports, and they can lower their risk of losing teeth by removing the metal clacking around in their mouth before participating.
If your child has prolonged bleeding or pain related to their oral piercing, then make an appointment with our office immediately. They may have an infection, and it must be treated by a pediatric dentist.