Tongue piercings happen to be one of the most common forms of piercings. Piercings are an aspect of our society that may be deemed “cool” or “rebellious”, but at the end of the day you should ask yourself: are piercings even worth the dangers associated with them?

Many people, often teenagers, buy into a tongue piercing mainly due to peer pressure or to fit into a crowd or group of specific individuals. To them, it’s a matter of individuality – a chance to be different and make a statement. This is completely fine, however, as dentists we are obligated to warn you of what may happen later on – and of course it always happens when you least expect it.

Tongue Piercings Come With Baggage

Infection is the #1 cause for concern, especially because our mouths contain many blood vessels that are connected to many parts of our body, including our brain. Bacteria is rampant with a tongue piercing, and this means your chances of developing a nasty infection are greater.

Not everyone’s body will react the same. Some people who receive tongue piercings face unexpected consequences such as inflammation so severe their airway becomes obstructed, limiting their ability to breathe properly.

As you receive the actual piercing of your tongue, then there’s always a possibility of nerve damage occurring, which would result in diminished sensation and movement of your tongue. However, there is a low chance this could occur and has not been sufficiently researched.

Piercings also happen to be a cause of bad breath. Because bacteria colonize around your piercing, your mouth becomes a haven for harmful bacteria that leads to consistent bad breath that requires more than just gum or mouthwash to rid of.

Your tongue is constantly moving in your mouth all day – especially when you talk. It’s not uncommon for your teeth to chip or crack after coming into contact with your jewelry over time. To add, some people run into speech problems adjusting to their new oral jewelry.

Have you ever thought about swallowing jewelry? We’re guessing you haven’t, but when you have jewelry in your mouth in an environment that is always moist, then the possibility of swallowing the piercing becomes a reality. This could also cause problems with breathing if it becomes caught in the back of your throat.

It’s not just your teeth, but gums as well. Bacteria ramps up with tongue piercings and this can take a huge toll on your gums, especially when the piercing comes into contact with your gums – eventually leading to periodontal disease and receding gums. Bleeding gums is a common occurrence for those with tongue piercings.

It’s Not Too Late

Yes, it’s not too late to reconsider your tongue piercing. When you remove the piece of jewelry from your mouth, then your mouth is given a chance to heal the site – which our body registers as an open wound. Periodontal disease that is severe is unable to be reversed, but gingivitis – the early stages of gum disease – can be reversed.

However, if you are completely satisfied with your tongue piercing and are willing to accept the consequences, then the one thing we strongly advise is that you visit your dentist at least twice a year as recommended by the American Dental Association. And of course, brush and floss your teeth properly for at least two times a day (morning and night are best).