A Dentist’s Perspective: Protecting Your Teeth From Oral Piercings

People get body piercings as a form of self-expression or even as a way to prevent migraines. If you have ones in your mouth, you may experience side-effects or complications that can have a negative impact on your oral and overall health. Not to mention, the friction from piercings against your teeth could result in an unexpected visit to your emergency dentist. Read on to learn about possible effects of oral piercings and how you can keep your mouth healthy if you already have one.


There are a variety of oral piercings that you could get, including ones in your uvula, the floor of mouth, upper frenulum, gums, tongue, and many more. While they may seem aesthetically pleasing, some people don’t consider the possible impact that they can have on their oral health, especially if a complication or side-effect occurs. It can interfere with your ability to chew, swallow, and even speak. It can also result in:

  • Infection, which causes pain and swelling. Because your mouth is so moist, it’s the perfect place for bacteria to grow, and consequently, infections to occur. An oral piercing can also cause your tongue to swell up, which could result in your airway becoming blocked.
  • Damage to your gums, teeth, and restorations. Some people develop a habit of biting or playing with their piercing in their mouth. This can result in irritating or injuring oral tissues or even damaging fillings.
  • Allergic reactions to metal could occur.
  • Excessive salivation caused by a tongue piercing.
  • Difficulties taking dental X-rays because jewelry can obstruct the image.


The American Dental Association recommends immediately visiting your dentist or physician if you experience any kind of pain or swelling following your piercing. You may also experience fever, chills, or shaking. The infection could spread to other areas of your mouth, affecting the health of your teeth and gums.


If you already have piercings, there are certain preventive measures you can take to help preserve your oral health. Be sure to:

  • Keep the area where your piercing is located clean and free of food debris that could attract harmful oral bacteria, causing infection.
  • If possible, try keeping your jewelry from rubbing or coming into contact with your teeth. Also, be mindful of the location and movement of the piercing when you’re speaking and chewing to prevent accidents.
  • Make sure the piercing is securely attached so you don’t accidentally swallow or choke on it.


If you have an oral piercing, it could create a well-hidden hideout for harmful oral bacteria and food debris to accumulate, which increases your risk of developing gum disease or cavities. Just be sure to brush twice each day, floss, and visit your dentist every six months to ensure that the piercing isn’t harming the rest of your mouth.


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