It’s not exactly new information that oral piercings can be bad for your oral health, but a new study from the University Center for Dentistry at the University of Basel in Switzerland has just revealed that oral piercings may be more dangerous than oral health professionals initially thought.
What we did know about oral piercings is that in addition to the piercing itself leaving the mouth vulnerable to bacterial infection, the jewelry itself can often cause damage to the teeth in the form of cracked and chipped teeth, or even temporary or permanent speech impediments if worn for too long.
But what we didn’t know was that oral piercings also increase the wearer's risk of gum disease and infection, too. In fact, according to the study, researchers found an increased amount of inflamed and bleeding gums among participants with tongue piercings- and even an elevated number of patients with receding gums, too. Surprisingly when participants with lip rings were studied, the risks of developing these conditions did not increase at all.
Researchers believe that because the mouth is home to upwards of 500 different types of bacteria, viruses, and fungus, leaving the tongue vulnerable through the piercing site is an invitation for all sorts of nasty infections to develop if not properly cared for.
Worse yet, they also discovered that once the damage is done, it may be too late to correct, as some participants who suffered damage due to their tongue ring damaging teeth still suffered from abscesses and tooth loss a decade after removing their jewelry.
The good news is that with proper care, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing any of these conditions- even with a tongue ring. That means removing the ring (both lip or tongue) every single day to brush it with a toothbrush and toothpaste, and subsequently keeping it out for as long as possible.
Also, be sure not to let any mouth jewelry get in the way of properly caring for your teeth. One of the things the study noted is that the closer the ring is to your teeth, the higher the risk of injury and infection. Even if it’s difficult, you still need to floss once a day and brush twice a day for at least two minutes at a time. If your oral jewelry is preventing this, consider removing it permanently, as even though you may not want to admit it, your oral health is way more important than your fashion sense. After all, no amount of jewelry can hide missing teeth.
To keep your oral health in check, give Dr. Abelar’s office a call at 858-866-9692.