Piercing of the tongue and perioral regions is an increasingly popular expression of body art, with more patients coming in for a routine check-ups with tongue and/or lip piercings. Several complications of oral piercing have been reported, some of which are life-threatening. The most common dental problem registered was chipping of the teeth, especially in association with tongue piercing. Gingival recession was seen as a result of lip piercing with studs. Post-procedural complications included oedema, haemorrhage and infection.
One of the most serious long-term health problems that may occur from oral piercings comes in the form of damage to the soft tissues such as the cheeks, gums and palate, as well as opportunistic infections.
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A few side effects of tongue piercing include:
1. Tongue piercing causes chips, cracks, and/or fractures in your teeth. Wearing tongue jewellery can not only damage your teeth, but it can damage expensive dental work that you may have already done. The effect of tongue jewellery on teeth is especially important when participating in exercise and athletic activities.
2. Tongue piercing causes gum recession, also called localized periodontal disease. If you wear a barbell on your tongue, it can rub up against and irritate the gums on the tongue side of your teeth. This has led to gum recession in many people who have their tongues pierced. In older adults, periodontal disease (not cavities) is usually the most common cause of tooth loss.
3. Tongue piercing can wear down your teeth. Out of habit, many tongue-ring wearers often rub their tongue ring up against their teeth.
4. Tongue piercing can cause speech impediments. Tongue piercing can make it more difficult to talk. You use your tongue for making a lot of sounds when you talk. If you get a tongue ring, it makes it a lot harder to speak correctly.
5. Tongue piercing can cause nerve damage. An inexperienced piercing parlour worker may inadvertently cause permanent damage to the nerves in your tongue or other areas of the mouth depending on how the tongue is pierced. The person doing the piercing needs to have a sound knowledge of the anatomy of your tongue.
6. Tongue piercing can cause bad breath. Tongue jewellery is a good place for the plaque in your mouth to live. It’s harder to brush if you have tongue jewellery. Also, if you don’t regularly clean your tongue jewellery, it can accumulate bacteria that make your breath smell pretty bad.
7. Tongue piercing can cause excessive drooling. Tongue piercing can cause an increase in the amount of saliva you make. Although saliva is good for the teeth, too much can be a problem. You probably won’t look too cool with a tongue ring if you leave a puddle of spit everywhere you go.
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