Tongue Piercings and Dental Health

The Placerville Dental Group wants you to know that tongue piercings are hazardous to your dental health.

Tongue piercing is a personal decision, but it is important that patients are fully aware of possible oral health hazards.” — Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice

Our last article examined the connection between lip piercings and cracked teeth or gum disease. Some people think that tongue piercings would perhaps be safer, since the stud is not placed directly against the teeth, as is the case with many lip piercings. Unfortunately, worldwide studies demonstrate that the average tongue piercing triples the likelihood of cracked teeth and cases of gum disease.

The journal General Dentistry mentioned the hazards of tongue piercings in a report that has made the rounds of many Internet websites. To put it simply, these are the worst of the potential complications:

Potential Side Effects of Tongue Piercing

  • Infection at the piercing site
  • Blood vessel punctures
  • Development of excessive scar tissue
  • Cracked and chipped teeth, as with lip piercings.

More than one source source in the world of dentistry is declaring that tongue piercings are hazardous to your oral health. Military dentists work to keep the soldiers under their care in the best state of dental health possible, recognizing that good oral care leads to better overall health. Oral piercings tend to be found in young people, and the age of soldiers averages in the low twenties, so militaries around the world have done a number of studies on their recruits.

In 2008, a study at Tel-Aviv University was featured in the American Journal of Orthodontics. Three hundred young Israelis at a military dental facility were examined for gum disease. The results: receding gums connected to multiple teeth were more common in patients with oral piercings of any kind. Gum recession is dangerous because it leads to tooth infection and loss.

A 2010 French study from the journal Military Medicine cited the case of a specific NATO pilot and reviewed the dental studies on tongue piercings. The doctors’ conclusion: “Tongue piercing and wearing tongue jewelry have numerous adverse effects, especially frequent dental complications. If these complications do not result in death, they can generate sufficient pain to disturb the vigilance and concentration of pilots and can have a major impact on flight security.” Wouldn’t you like to avoid “frequent dental complications”?

Finally, the German Army reported in Clinical Oral Investigations that an examination of one hundred soldiers, split between those with tongue piercings and those without, found that those with piercings had double or triple the number of cracked teeth or teeth with receding gums. There are only two solutions for a cracked tooth — extraction or a root canal.

As shown above, the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice puts the issue of tongue piercing like this: “Tongue piercing is a personal decision, but it is important that patients are fully aware of possible oral health hazards.” Unfortunately, about half of the people with tongue piercings, according to Dental Traumatology, were unaware or uninformed of the potential risks. Just the fact that tongue piercing was featured in a journal with “traumatology” in its title should give you fair warning!

The Placerville Dental Group wants our clients to be informed about dangers to their dental health. If you have or want to get an oral piercing, recognize that serious side effects include hazards to your teeth, gums, tongue and general health. If you go ahead with your piercing and suffer some of these side effects, know that we’re here to help you with the consequences. We just believe that it’s best for you to avoid the complications in the first place.

Placerville Dental Group
blog@placervilledentistry.com
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