Oral piercings are hip and stylish; many people have them.

For every person who has an oral piercing, they are someone that is going to have a dental problem. It’s not a matter of “if,” but a matter of “when.”

The National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine goes on at length about the various complications and problems of people with oral piercings. Here are the highlights (lowlights):

– Patients with oral and perioral piercing should be regularly monitored because of the possible development of different types of adverse effects which can be systemic, with transmission of infectious diseases such as hepatitis B or C, or can be localized to the mouth, with unintentional alteration of your teeth through daily wear and tear directly related to piercings.

– The initial insertions of piercings can cause transmission of a number of diseases if not done in a medically sterile environment. Examples are hepatitis B and C, HIV, herpes simplex virus, Epstein-Barr virus, Candida albicans, tetanus, syphilis or tuberculosis.

– Oral and perioral piercings produce radiopaque areas and must not be worn during X-ray examinations.

– A greater presence of plaque can be produced at the site of oral/perioral piercings due to the difficulty of maintaining hygiene and the retention of food remains in the mouth, creating an ideal environment for a large accumulation of plaque and calculus. This can also cause ongoing bad breath.

– In oral/perioral piercings, constant trauma from the jewelry may produce localized bone loss.

– Changes to your teeth can be produced by the way you move your mouth to accommodate your jewelry. This includes fractures, fissures, abrasions or the loss of tooth enamel. Much more can occur.

These are just a very few of the many bad and dangerous things which can happen when patients choose to permanently alter their body through the use of piercings in and around their mouth. Before anyone ever makes an unalterable change to their body, they must stop and look at the long term consequences of their actions. Good oral health is directly related to good overall health. Something as “simple and fashionable” as a piercing in or near the mouth could literally lead to a lifetime of pain and constant health problems.

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