Are Oral Piercings Bad for Your Health? YES!!!

Various forms of body piercing have been practiced in almost every society going back 5,000 years.  Anthropologists consider it as a way for a person to identify with a group, denote status or beautify the body. Tongue bolts, cheek studs and lip rings seem to be in vogue for young people who may not be aware of the health risks involved.

So what’s the big deal with an oral piercing?  Let’s break the complications into four groups:

Can Occur Anytime

  • Transmission/development of Hepatitis B,C,D,E,G along with:
    • Tetanus
    • Tuberculosis
    • Herpes simplex
    • Epstein-Barr
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Yeast infection
    • Brain abscess
    • Infection at piercing site
  • Allergic reactions
  • Choking aspiration or swallowing

During the Initial Piercing

  • Loss of consciousness or other medical emergency
  • Bruising, swelling, tenderness and bleeding

Short-Term After

  • Nerve damage
  • Prolonged bleeding
  • Excessive drooling
  • Increased plaque/calculus formation
  • Dentinal hypersensitivity
  • Gingival inflammation
  • Impaired/metallic taste
  • Chemical burns from improper use of post-piercing care products

Long-Term After

    • Pulpal sensitivity from galvanic currents
    • Gingival recession/overgrowth
    • Periodontitis leading to tooth loss
    • Periodontal/periapical abscess
    • Tooth abrasion/mobility/fracture/loss
    • Gaps/misaligned teeth
    • Damage to restorations/fixed porcelain prostheses
    • Death from herpes simplex, hepatitis and multiple brain abscesses associated with tongue piercing



It’s your health and your choice.  If you decide to have an oral piercing be aware you will need more frequent dental visits and pay special attention to your oral hygiene.  If you decide oral piercing is not for you, there is good news.  Removing it will immediately reduce your risk and instantly improve your oral health.