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Could tongue piercings harm your teeth?

Posted 26th April, 2019

Tongue piercings may be in fashion, but do they have a negative effect on your dental health?

All piercings around the mouth, for example, lip and cheek piercings, can cause harm to your teeth, gums and soft tissues in the mouth. However, tongue piercings appear to be the worst. In this article, we will discuss the potential problems you can develop as a result of having your tongue pierced.

Gum Disease

A recent Swiss study has concluded that people with tongue piercings are more likely to suffer from gum disease. Researchers found more cases of bleeding, receding or inflamed gums within a group of 14 patients that all had tongue piercings. The lead researcher found that teeth were affected more if they were closer to the piercing itself.

Another Belgian study revealed that two young women with tongue piercings suffered repeated gum damage from the metal pressing against their gums. After a decade, the women had to have their piercings removed because of bleeding and infected gums. This resulted in repeated abscesses and even loose teeth.

Wear on the teeth

Not only do tongue piercings interfere with eating, swallowing and talking, but they can also cause irritation and damage to teeth. The constant contact and pressure the piercing has against the surface of the teeth will cause damage over time. This damage is especially prominent on the front lower teeth.

A piercing is made from metal, and when this metal is constantly hitting the surface of the tooth, it will cause small cracks. These cracks will eventually get larger which will cause the tooth to fail, leading to decayed or broken teeth and even extreme sensitivity.   

Mouth Infections

Mouth piercings also significantly increase a patient’s chance of developing an oral infection. The mouth can hold up to 500 different types of bacteria at one time – but they are not all bad!

The mouth can usually fight off any bad bacteria with its natural defence system, but when the barriers are broken, like when you have a piercing, a lot of the bacteria will see it as an opportunity to cause an infection.

Should you remove your tongue piercing?

If you care about your oral health, you should remove your tongue piercing as soon as possible. If you don’t want to remove the piercing, you must carry out a very strict and thorough oral hygiene routine. Pierced patients should also stop smoking or vaping.

If you have previously had a tongue piercing and would like to check that it’s not caused any permanent damage, our dentists can carry out a thorough examination and advise you on any treatment that may be needed.

To book an appointment with Gwersyllt Dental Care, please call us on 01978 757 409 or click here to be taken to our online appointment form.

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