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The Truth About Tongue Piercings and Your Teeth

By: Soft Touch

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The Truth About Tongue Piercings and Your Teeth
Article By: Soft Touch

Countless people have pierced their tongues, but many don’t realize the potential risks. Here, we’ll explore the truth about mouth jewelry and your teeth. From the enamel-eroding effects of the jewelry to the increased risk of gum disease, there are many ways that mouth piercings can damage your oral health. So before you decide to get a piercing, be sure to read this blog first!

You may think about a mouth piercing and wonder how it may affect your teeth. Reading this article shows you are doing your research beforehand to assess the risks and benefits, which is good. The information here will help in your decision, confirm your suspicions, and provide options if you already have piercings. 

As Your Dentist, Do We Recommend Mouth And Tongue Piercings? 

Many people have strong feelings about piercings, both positive and negative. We appreciate the artistic expression and individualism one may want to express by having piercings and certainly make no judgments. 

The answer to whether we recommend piercings is based solely on medical research. One study found that people with tongue and lip piercings experienced more significant dental erosion. It indicated that tongue and lip piercing could cause damage to your teeth and gums. 

If you decide to go for it yourself, consider a few things before making such an important decision. We’ll break down why we don’t recommend having tongue and mouth piercings and why they aren’t worth the risk:

How Tongue Piercings Can Damage Your Teeth

One of the most common risks of a tongue or mouth piercing is that your teeth can have difficulty moving around normally when you eat. The other risk that comes along with getting this type of piercing is something much more severe. Tongue piercings aren’t as safe as they seem because they can cause oral complications.

This includes chipped or broken teeth, gum damage, and swollen tongues. These may cause pain and discomfort the first few days after the initial procedure. Redness and soreness caused by skin infections. Other skin conditions like scars.

If you’ve already decided to get a tongue piercing, here’s some advice: take extra care of your teeth! Brush regularly and floss twice daily, especially after meals and bedtime.

Types Of Oral Piercings

  1. A tongue piercing is generally simple and easy to do. The process begins with your piercer asking what type of piercing you’d like. There are approximately six types, so ensure you understand what you’re getting before starting. Then, they’ll use a needle to insert the piercing through the center of your tongue. You’ll then have to sit patiently for about 20 minutes as the piercing heals. 
  2. Lip piercing is a relatively easy and painless process generally completed within 30 minutes.

     

The Effects Of Tongue Piercings On Your Teeth

The first reason tongue piercings are unsafe is their effect on your teeth and gums. If you have a tongue or lip piercing that interferes with the gum line, it could make your teeth loose. This can cause pain and swelling and ultimately require some dental work to fix problems that arise. 

Another issue is that many people who get tongue piercings need to learn how much pressure and force they should apply when chewing or talking. Eventually, it could lead to other oral health issues, which can worsen over time if you don’t take care of it. A third issue is that some who get tongue piercings are unsure how to care for their teeth after the piercing. 

As a result, they might neglect this type of body modification and its effect on their teeth altogether. If you’ve read up on all these risks and still want to go through with getting a tongue piercing, make sure that you know what to expect beforehand. Consult with us or another professional if unsure about the process or aftercare!

The Effects Of Tongue Piercings On Your Gums

First, consider the effect of piercing on oral health. If you get a tongue piercing, swelling usually increases for several days before decreasing. It may take up to one week for the swelling to go down completely. Bleeding from the hole is generally not severe but is expected. Still, if it continues for a few days, it could signify something else going wrong. After a few days, the wound may also leak a white or clear liquid.

Suppose your tongue continues to bleed or ooze liquid. In that case, you should consult a professional and have them remove the piece of jewelry causing these issues. If your mouth has been experiencing any pain or soreness, then there’s an increased chance that a tongue piercing might worsen those symptoms. 

If this happens, you’ll need to take steps to relieve your pain and discomfort, like seeing a dentist for deep cleaning or visiting your general practitioner for treatment. Lastly, consider how long you should wait before getting another piercing if that’s your intention. Many factors determine how long it takes for someone’s tongue to heal from piercings, such as their age and the location of the piercing on their tongue.

The Risks Involved With Tongue Piercings

There are a few risks that come along with a tongue piercing. The most significant risk associated with a tongue ring is that the hole can get infected soon after the procedure. Most infections are not severe and can be treated usually by taking an antibiotic orally. If you are still unsure whether you want to take the risk, it’s best to speak with your doctor before deciding on a piercing. 

You could lose your tongue piercing altogether if it becomes infected. Finally, there is always the risk of piercings becoming too tight and causing problems with eating and speaking. This can happen with any mouth piercing but can also be due to allergies or infection in general. If this happens, you could experience pain when trying to eat or speak. 

How To Clean And Care For Your Tongue Piercing

The first thing to consider is how you’ll clean and care for your tongue piercing. You should be able to take off the jewelry for short intervals of time without the hole closing. 

When you get a new piercing, the piercers usually start with a larger barbed wire-like object to give your body space to heal as it swelled. Once the swelling has gone down, dentists recommend replacing the large barbell with a smaller one that’s less likely to bother your mouth.

Once your tongue has fully recovered from the procedure, remove the jewelry every evening and brush it just like you would your teeth. Removing it before bed or doing any activity that requires physical exertion may be best.

It’s not recommended to store your piercing in any solution. Still, you can use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to rinse the area after each use. As for storage, keep it wrapped in cloth or tissue paper and place it in a container that doesn’t have any moisture or liquid in it. Don’t let anything get into your piercing because this could lead to swelling and bacteria buildup. 

You should also keep your tongue separated from other piercings, even if they’re on the same side of your mouth, as bacteria can spread quickly between them. If you decide to get a new piece of jewelry for your mouth and are unsure how long you need to wait before getting another one, always consult a doctor beforehand. 

Where Did My Taste Buds Go?

One of the more common risks with tongue piercings is that your taste buds might be permanently damaged. It’s uncommon, but taste buds can be damaged while getting a tongue piercing and even lose their sense of taste altogether. This is due to the swelling involved with this type of piercing and the pressure it causes on your tongue and lingual nerve. 

The lower jaw (the part where most tongue piercings rest) also houses a lot of blood vessels which can lead to bruising. This isn’t even the only risk related to your teeth. A common habit of biting or playing with the piercing can injure your gums and lead to cracked, scratched, or sensitive teeth. Your teeth can also fall out because of sustained damage; this is especially true for those who are inexperienced in getting a tongue piercing. 

It’s not just your body that these procedures could harm; often, they can even result in financial damage. For example, suppose you get an infection that requires antibiotics treatment. In that case, you must fork some serious cash for the treatment. There’s also a chance your health insurance won’t cover any follow-up visits to deal with infections or other complications that may arise from this procedure.

Should you remove your tongue piercing?

If you have a piercing in your mouth (such as a tongue stud), you may experience increased salivary gland activity. Jewelry can also block X-rays from reaching your teeth. The best way to keep your teeth safe is to remove mouth jewelry as soon as possible and let the hole grow over. However, if you can’t remove the piercing, then take precautions. Don’t share a toothbrush with anyone, especially those who have had their tongue piercings for a few weeks or months. There is a high chance that they can pass on bacteria into someone else’s mouth. Keep your piercing clean, and take care so it doesn’t get infected or inflamed. Please keep it clean by swishing it with water after brushing your teeth and flossing daily. Consider wearing a mouth guard while sleeping. 

Damage Repair For Your Teeth

One of the first things to consider is how long you’ll keep your piercing. Tongue piercings are often removed over time for various reasons. If you decide to get a piercing, it is reversible. There are also instances when people have trouble wearing their tongue piercing because they experience pain or discomfort. In this case, it might be best not to go through with the process because even though the issue may pass in time, there’s still a risk involved since tongue piercings require special care and maintenance. Lastly, some people have a lot of swelling after a mouth piercing is done. This swelling can cause issues with wearing your tongue piercing and other mouth jewelry because it causes your tongue to swell too much and inhibit the comfortable wearing of jewelry in your mouth. If you injure your teeth and gums, the repairs can be costly. It’s something to take into account beforehand.

The Bottom Line

  • The tongue piercing is less safe for your teeth than it seems. 
  • Getting a tongue piercing might cause more problems. 
  • It can be challenging to care for the piercing and maintain good oral hygiene properly. 
  • You may experience pain and need time off work if you have an infection. 
  • There is evidence that it can interfere with speech and affect your career if you are a public speaker or in the public eye. 
  • It will leave you with a hole in your tongue that can make eating difficult at times, like when you eat or drink something cold.


Of course, the most effective way to protect your teeth from mouth jewelry is by considering whether it might cause dental issues first. Don’t get pierced on a whim. Adding a piercing requires added responsibility when it comes to care and maintenance. Ask your dentist if there’s anything they suggest you do before proceeding. 

We work with many people who have had mouth jewelry at Soft Touch Dentistry. If you have additional questions about your specific situation, we are here to help. Please message us or call us to schedule a consultation at 916-424-1703.

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