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While oral piercings are a self-expressive fashion trend, you may want to think twice about getting one. Oral piercings may look edgy and cool, but they can also be destructive to your oral health.

A study in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that tongue and lip piercings can cause tooth loss. The issue seems to be gum tissue. When the piercing is left in the mouth and constantly touches the gums, there can be problems such as the gums receding, the teeth becoming chipped or fractured, damage to the nerves and even inflammation where the piercing was performed. Periodontitis is another issue, which happens when the layer of gum tissue and bone pull back from the teeth, forming pockets. This can end in the teeth becoming loose, and either falling out or requiring removal.

Some signs to look for after you have a piercing that might indication health risk: having a discharge from the site that is yellow or green, thickening of the gums around the site that darken, the piercing site getting red, swollen or tender and not healing, an abscess on the site, bleeding or tearing after it has already healed and a low grade fever that doesn’t go away.

If you do decide to have an oral piercing, be sure to take good care of it and follow any directions given to you by your piercing professional. The antiseptic aspects of saliva can help your tongue piercing to heal, so staying hydrated to keep saliva production up is important. Keep in mind that it normally takes anywhere from four to six weeks to heal a piercing on the tongue, and up to two months for a lip piercing.

Don’t let oral piercings cause problems for your teeth. If you have any questions or concerns about an oral piercing, please come in to see our dedicated dentists, Dr. Abbott and Dr. Cahn. We can be reached by calling our Midlothian Dental Arts team in Midlothian, Virginia at 804-419-5155 today!