Body piercings are seen as a harmless fashion statement. This is not always the case. Piercing the tongue, lips, or cheeks can be harmful and a risk to your teeth and to your general health.
Oral piercings are done with a large needle and no anesthetic. The procedure is painful and there are significant risks:
- Swelling. A swollen tongue can block your airway making it difficult or impossible for you to breathe.
- Infection. Your mouth is loaded with bacteria that can enter the piercing and cause an infection.
- Bleeding. There are many large blood vessels that pass through your tongue. Perforation of a blood vessel by your piercing could result in significant and serious bleeding.
- Nerve Damage. Piercing a nerve can cause temporary or permanent numbness and can cause a change in taste sensation.
- Gum Recession. Constant rubbing of oral barbells against the gum can cause permanent gum recession.
- Tooth Damage. Biting on oral jewlery when eating, sleeping, or when just playing with it, can chip or break your teeth.
- Choking Hazard. If your jewlery comes loose, you can choke on it!
The National Institute of Health has linked Hepatitis to oral piercing.
The Massachusetts Dental Society discourages oral piercings because of their serious side effects. Click here for a link to their brochure.