Oral Piercings & Dental Health: Risks And Consequences

Posted on: 28 August 2015

While oral piercings can be a cool addition to your piercing collection, they can also lead to a number of serious dental issues. Many of the dental issues outlined below will be unavoidable over time, which is why those considering oral piercings should certainly give them a second thought.

Gum Disease

Oral piercings come into constant contact with the gums, resulting in multiple and repeated injuries. Over time, the gums will begin to react to the interactions by receding.

The gums are sensitive tissues that serve an important role – they ensure the teeth are given proper support so as to prevent premature teeth and jaw bone loss. When the gums are constantly coming into contact with a foreign object, they'll become injured. Over time, the injuries won't be able to properly repair themselves, resulting in recession and inflammation. This will allow harmful bacteria to enter into the space between the teeth and gums, wreaking havoc and causing pain, bleeding, inflammation, and eventually lead to the loss of bone and teeth.

Chipped or Broken Teeth

Gums aren't the only thing to come into constant contact with oral piercing – teeth are constantly being bumped and rubbed against them as well.

The constant contact between the metal and teeth will cause the teeth's enamel to wear down, leading to pain and sensitivity. The weakened enamel will also lead to weaker teeth, meaning the risk of chips, cracks, and breaks will only increase over time. Unfortunately for those with tongue piercings, chipping was found in 47% of individuals who've had it for 4 years or more making this a very real danger for those with tongue and other oral piercings.


The more bacteria present in the mouth, the more chance there is of infection. The addition of an oral piercing to your mouth will only add bacteria to the mouth and make it susceptible to all manner of infections.

Infections can occur at the site of the piercing, but they can also appear in other areas of the mouth. When you get a piercing, whether in the tongue, cheek, or lip, your gums, cheeks, and palates are now exposed to a bacteria-laden piercing that can cause cuts and abrasions. These cuts can become infected by the bacteria on the piercing, leading to infections and abscesses that may need medical intervention to treat.

While proper care of your oral piercing can go a long way in prevention of infection and disease, there are some damaging effects that may not be avoided, such as gum disease and tooth chipping. To learn more about the effect that oral piercings can have on your dental health, consult with your dentist today.