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Every generation has a fad or two that it calls its own. Your generation’s fad may be piercing the lips or the tongue. While it may be fashionable, trendy, or a statement of your individuality, oral piercings come with significant risks.

Your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria, and a very fertile breeding ground at that. A piercing in your lips, cheeks or tongue could open the door for that bacteria to enter your body. Oral piercings increase your risk for multiple forms of hepatitis and, at a higher risk for endocarditis, which is the inflammation of your heart valves.

Your tongue contains a large number of blood vessels and if the piercing is not properly done, you could experience heavy bleeding and possibly nerve damage. A pierced tongue can also cause problems for the alignment of your teeth, since the barbell in your tongue can repeatedly strike the lower teeth, eventually creating gaps. You also run the risk of chipping your teeth, and damaging any dental work that you may have. Wearing a metal barbell or stud can lead to gum disease and lost teeth.

Finally, jewelry in your mouth can increase your saliva production, and make it difficult for you to speak and chew properly.

If you are considering have your lips, cheek or tongue pierced, you should have a discussion with your dentist about the potential risks, the proper aftercare, and maintenance of an oral piercing. If you would like to talk with our dentist Dr. Vincent Mayher about the implications of oral piercing, or if you have another dental need, call Vincent C. Mayher, DMD, MAGD in Haddonfield, New Jersey at 856-429-0404.