MOUTH PIERCINGS AND ORAL HEALTH
In a world spoon-fed mainstream popular culture, there has been an increase for the cry of individuality. Body modifications are on the rise, be that tattoos, skin implants and piercings. Some believe that these bod-mods are beautiful, and as they say… it’s in the eye of the beholder. Things have changed, mouth piercings can be tongue, lip, cheeks, frenulum, frenulum linguae, uvula, and the list goes on, seriously. The human body is pretty amazing and what we can do with it is getting a little crazier. But what could this be doing to our health? Here is a look into mouth piercings and the effects that this could be having on our oral health.
IT’S PIERCED. SWELLING, INFLAMMATION AND POSSIBLE INFECTION
Any new piercing will cause swelling and inflammation, but it is an infection that you need to watch out for. Following the correct aftercare is an essential in preventing an infection. When it comes to mouth piercings, it is extremely important as the mouth is already a plethora of bacteria! It is also equally important to choose carefully where you get your piercing done, make sure they sterilise equipment and abide by health regulations.
If facilities and equipment are not sterilised, a viral infection or disease passed on through instruments could look like:
HEPATITIS B – This is an infection, which can become a lifelong chronic disease. Hepatitis can attack the liver and this can be life-threatening. Do you have a hepatitis B vaccination?
HEPATITIS C – Hepatitis C has no symptoms, and can also create life-threatening liver disease. One of the differences between B and C is, unfortunately, there is no vaccination available against Hepatitis C.
ENDOCARDITIS – Bacterial endocarditis is a bacterial infection of the valves or inner lining of the heart. This can occur if bacteria enters the blood stream. As the mouth is full of bacteria, a mouth piercing opens the bloodstream to a whirl of bacteria.
HIV AND AIDS – It’s highly unlikely, BUT it’s not impossible. HIV is usually passed through bodily fluids such as blood and is usually passed human to human. Although it actually will die when in contact with the air. HIV weakens and destroys the immune system.
Take extra care if you are getting a piercing abroad, the facilities may not have the same health and safety stipulations!
In regards to nerve damage, tongue piercings can cause a lot of problems. The tongue is effectively a muscle, containing not only nerves but also arteries and blood vessels. Piercing the tongue must be a very accurate procedure to avoid piercing through a nerve. Nerve damage can cause restricted movement which can affect speech, taste and create numbness.
DAMAGE TO TEETH
Oral jewellery such as metal bars, balls, and studs can cause abrasion to the enamel of teeth as well as cracks and chips. This can be done accidently as well as subconsciously, for example, this could be something that you are doing in your sleep such as grinding teeth with oral jewellery.
GUM RECESSION & GUM DISEASE
Oral piercings can cause gum recession! Metal bars and jewellery will rest and rub against gums causing the soft tissue to erode. Gum recession can cause multiple oral health problems as the root of the tooth becomes more and more exposed. This can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, cavities and eventually even tooth loss!
SPEAKING TO YOUR DENTIST
If you are concerned about the effects to your teeth from your piercing, you should seek advice from your dentist. Every smile is different, therefore so is your oral health. For example, you can be more prone to things such as gum recession and gum disease because it has been inherited. Therefore depending on individual cases, your dentist may advise you that you are more likely to have implications to your oral health because of a mouth piercing.
IF YOUR MOUTH PIERCING IS HERE TO STAY
If you want to keep your mouth piercing(s) it is paramount to look after your oral health. As long as you visit your dentist regularly, maintain a good oral health regime, as well as follow the advice given to you by a piercing professional, you should be able to look after your teeth. If you choose to wear metal jewellery, chips and cracks to teeth may still be unavoidable, perhaps look into the benefits of plastic bars and balls!
Check out some of our other articles on keeping up on Oral health: