Understanding The Negative Effect Of Oral Piercings On Your Dental Health

Body art is considered a form of self-expression. Many teenagers and young adults get tattoos and oral piercings because they think that they look cool. Equally, they think that it will help them become popular or fit in with the "cool kids". While that may be true, it doesn't mean that getting an oral piercing is worth the risk. Oral piercings can be particularly damaging to your dental health.

What Science Says About It

According to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology Online, there is a significant link between tongue piercings, chipped teeth and gum recession. The study consisted of 52 adult participants who all had tongue piercings. They were grouped according to the number of years that they had worn the piercing.

In the group of zero to two years, there was no tooth chipping or gum recession. For those with long barbells for two or more years, it was found that 50 percent of them had recession on their mandibular central incisors. For those with tongue piercings for four or more years, it was found that 47 percent of them had been subjected to tooth chipping on premolars and molars.

How Piercings Hurt Your Teeth

The chipped teeth in the above study likely occurred when the piercing wearer played with the piercer, knocking it up against the teeth. Due to the location of the barbell, you will primarily be clanking it against the back of your two front teeth. This can lead to a gap in between those teeth, which may require expensive dental work in the future. In addition, according to one study, oral piercing may cause problems in athletes who wear the jewelry while playing sports. This is why all oral piercings should be removed while on the field, on the court, etc. 

How Piercings Create Problems for Your General Oral Health

Your tongue piercing creates the perfect location and environment for bacteria and plaque to thrive. If you fail to maintain proper brushing and tongue-cleaning habits, you may find that you have exceedingly bad breath. You may also put yourself at risk for an unnecessary infection.

How to Protect Your Mouth If You Have a Piercing

Because of the risk of oral health damage, it is crucial that you maintain your twice-yearly appointments with your dentist if you already have or intend to get an oral piercing. In some cases, you may be asked to come in more regularly. With oral piercings, you are increasing your risk of infection, gum disease, chipped teeth, nerve damage and periodontitis (which leads to tooth loss and the potential need for a dental bridge or implant). If you have a piercing and you have not seen your dentist since having it done, schedule an appointment today with a dentist like those at Clark Family Dentistry. If you are suffering from a small gap, you may be able to get braces to straighten your teeth and repair your smile.