Dental Risks with Tongue Piercings

Don’t dismiss this blog post from the title alone. You may not be thinking about getting your tongue ever pierced, but that doesn’t mean that your kids won’t. If they do, then you and they have plenty other things to worry about other than appearances and self-doubt about your parenting skills (please note parents, it’s not your fault).

A typical habit that comes with tongue piercing is playing with the stud, which means that you push the stud against the upper front teeth and catch the ball in the gap, as demonstrated in the image to the right. Who knows how it starts, but virtually everyone with a tongue piercing has at least once played with the jewelry. Over time, playing will create a larger and larger gap between the front teeth, eventually creating something quite noticeable. A gap between the front teeth that is only a fraction of an inch wide can cost thousands of dollars in orthodontic bill to correct.

A recent study from the University of Buffalo found that not only does “playing” with the stud forces the teeth to move, it happens in over 70% of all those who get the piercing.

People with the piercing don’t want to remove the stud, because the tongue will heal over the hole in a matter of hours. So the playing is often constant for months and years, leaving no real surprise that it will affect your front teeth.

Tongue piercings have also been found responsible for chipping and fracturing teeth (biting down on the stud while eating, for example), gum trauma, mouth abscesses, and infections. Worst case, an infection in your mouth from the piercing could cause other problems in the body, as mentioned in one of our earlier posts that explained the link between oral health and overall health.

Of course, there is a simple way to avoid all of these risks and protect your wallet from extraneous dental bills: don’t have your tongue pierced.

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