Oral piercing is fashionable with the youth of the world. Regardless of whether it is a form of self-expression or art, oral piercing caries significant health risks.
The ADA opposes the practice of intraoral piercing and tongue splitting, due to the negative sequalae that’s produced by such procedures.
One of the major risks associated with oral piecing is infection.
The ADA cites that a person faces two distinct forms of infection risk.
First and foremost the instruments used for these procedures aren’t necessarily sterilized properly.
Therefore people are at risk to contract all sorts of blood borne diseases, such as Hepatitis B, C, D, and G. The other risk involves the site of the piercing. The tongue and mouth are constantly teeming with bacteria.
These bacteria can cause problems such as bacterial endocarditis, a serious inflammation of the heart valves and tissues, infection at the site of the piercing or serious secondary infections, such as Ludwig’s Angina.
The consequences of some of these infections can be life threatening.
Another risk includes excessive bleeding of the tongue, due to its vascularity. Also the tongue, due to constant movement, tends to heal slowly. As a result, swelling is common and can enlarge to the point of airway blockage.
Finally the metal used in tongue piercing, can cause irritation or allergic responses in some individuals.
Wearing oral jewelry can also cause numerous dental problems. If the jewelry is worn in a place that rubs against the gums, tissue irritation can occur. Also the constant rubbing can recede the tissues.
Jewelry, worn in the mouth, can also chip or break teeth and dental restorations. X-rays can’t penetrate the metal, making a dental exam or an accurate diagnosis difficult.
The constant wearing of the jewelry can also over stimulate the production of saliva; can interfere with word pronunciation and with chewing and swallowing.
Finally, the jewelry worn can become loose, making aspiration of these parts, a dangerous reality.
If a piercing has been already placed, the AGD has a few tips that should be followed to minimize problems. First and foremost the jewelry must be kept clean.
This involves brushing the jewelry after every meal, just like one’s own teeth. Also uses of antiseptic mouthwashes are advised.
Jewelry should be removed nightly, to be cleaned under running water. It should also be removed when eating, sleeping or doing exercise.
Placing a smaller barbell on the tongue will also help to minimize contact on teeth or interference with chewing.
Oral piercing should be avoided. It can introduce infection, pose health risks and cause dental damage. If one must be had, strict oral hygiene needs to be followed to minimize the health risks that it poses.
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