Oral piercings have been all the rage for teens and young adults over the past fifteen years, and if you’re the parent of a teenager, chances are, your teen has asked (or begged or whined about) getting their tongue or lips pierced at some point.

teens and oral piercings

If your teenager wants to get an oral piercing, talk with him or her about the risks that may be involved and explain the tremendous amount of responsibility required to avoid those risks (for those that can be avoided).  Your teen dentist in Mesa has provided a list of the dangers associated with oral piercings.

  • Infections.  There are thousands of bacteria in the mouth at any given point, and when the jewelry is touched, that adds even more.  Your teenager must be very careful about changing jewelry and keeping his or her mouth clean.

  • Gum disease.  People with oral piercings run a higher risk of gum disease than people without, especially long-stem tongue jewelry (barbells).  The jewelry can come into contact with the gum tissue, causing injury and recession of the gums, which can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss.

  • Damage to teeth.  The teeth that come into contact with the jewelry can chip or crack.  One study in a dental journal discovered that 47% of people who had tongue piercings for four or more years had at least one chipped tooth.

  • Nerve damage.  Loss of sensation at the site of the piercing can occur if nerves have been damaged.  Especially for tongue piercings, swelling can be severe enough to block the airway and make breathing difficult.

  • Difficulties in daily functions.  Oral piercings can result in difficulty chewing and swallowing food and speaking clearly.  This is because the jewelry stimulates excessive saliva production.  Taste can be altered, and the wearer can have problems with drooling, and their efforts to be cool have backfired horribly.

Talk to your teenager about modern trends and whether fitting in is really worth the risks, and encourage them to think independently of the “in crowd.”  In this case, their physical health depends on it.  If your teen decides to proceed with getting an oral piercing, make sure he or she takes care of it properly to avoid further risk of infection.  Make sure the piercer is using proper sanitation techniques and suitable metals for jewelry, such as stainless steel.