Your Child Needs to Understand the Dangers of Oral Piercings

Posted on 9/21/2020 by Brian Rounds, DDS
Your Child Needs to Understand the Dangers of Oral PiercingsWhile there are admittedly worse things your child could do as a teen, coming home with an unexpected piercing could potentially send any parent for a loop. Tongue, cheek and lip piercings have been a fad that has been around longer than a decade. Because it's been a consistent trend, there are more opportunities for us as dentists to study the damage that can potentially be caused by an oral piercing.

Warning Your Child

Before you're faced with giving your child an ultimatum, share this information with them. What can it hurt? The answer to that may surprise you: A lot. Aside from the physical pain of an oral piercing and the increased risk of infection (our mouths are full of bacteria and a tongue piercing can lead to some serious, nasty infection) there is a significant increase in damage to the teeth and gums. The most common oral piercing is the tongue, and that jewelry is a barbell. Depending on the length of the bar, the damage can vary. It's a stainless-steel bar that is held in place with a screw cap on each end.

We have observed patients who habitually click the ball of the piercing along the teeth or bite on the ball itself. This causes chipping and cracking to your child's teeth, which can leave little places for bacteria to grow and decay to develop. If the piercing remains longer than three or four years, the damage increases. We have also seen patients who have receding gums when they have a tongue piercing.

With all of the information that is available regarding oral piercings and the damage it can cause to your teeth and gums, we strongly recommend against it. We do, however, realize that kids will be kids and want the irrational from time to time. If you need help talking your child out of an oral piercing, please don't hesitate to call our office and schedule a checkup. We'd be happy to address your concerns with your child. Lastly, remind your child that oral health is something that lasts a lifetime, while an oral piercing is simply a passing fad.
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