The Dangers Of Oral Piercings

What is oral piercing?

An oral piercing is a small hole in the tongue, lip or cheek so the person can wear jewelry as an expression of style. But it can be dangerous.

Risks of oral piercing

The mouth is filled with bacteria that can lead to infection and swelling. A swollen tongue can make it hard to breathe and eat. In some people with heart disease, bacteria can lead to a condition that can damage the heart valves.

Tongue piercings also can cause risks for bleeding and blood loss as the tongue is full of blood vessels.

The jewelry can cause issues as well. It can break off in the mouth and cause choking. It can chip the teeth while eating, sleeping, talking or chewing on it. If the chip or crack goes deep into the tooth, it can cause tooth lose or a need for root canal to fix it.

Mouth piercings also may:

  • Make it hard to speak, chew, or swallow.
  • It can also damage the tongue, gums, or fillings.
  • It can make it hard for the dentist to take an X-ray of the teeth
  • Lead to serious health problems, like gum disease, bleeding, infections, hepatitis B and
  • Lead to an allergic reaction due to the metal in the jewelry


Because of these risks, dentists warn against oral piercings.


Important advice:

  • Anyone decides to get an oral piercing, should make sure they’re up to date on vaccines for hepatitis B and tetanus.
  • Pick a clean piercing shop that appears hygenic.
  • Look for a piercer who has a license, which means he was specially trained. The piercer should wash his hands with germ-killing soap, wear fresh disposable gloves, and use sterilized tools or disposable ones.
  • The needle is packed in a new steralised cover and has never been used
  • Jewelry is made of surgical steel, solid gold, or platinum


Taking care of the piercing:

After getting the piercing make sure the piercing heals and doesn’t get infected. Healing usually takes 3 to 4 weeks. During that time, one should:

  • Rinse the tongue or lip piercing after every meal or snack and before bed.
  • Use antibacterial alcohol-free mouthwash or warm salt water.
  • Refrain from kissing while it heals (avoid contact with other people’s saliva)
  • Not share cups, plates, forks, knives, or spoons
  • Eat small bites of healthy food
  • Not eat spicy, salty, or acidic foods and drinks
  • Not have hot drinks, like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate


While it heals, one should be able to remove the jewelry for short periods of time without the hole closing.


After the piercing the tongue/ gums could suffer short-term symptoms like pain, swelling, and extra saliva.

People with fresh piercing should look for signs of infection such as:



Lots of Bleeding


A Bad Smell



Abnormal feeling in the pierced area

If any of these, seek the help of a doctor or a dentist.


After the tongue has healed, the jewelry should be taken out every night and brushed like the teeth.