Body piercings are a common form of self-expression nowadays. But do they impact your oral and dental health? This post from Dr. Steven W. Haywood in Timonium is for those who currently have an oral piercing or are considering one.
Since this is a dental blog, you may expect us to raise all sorts of alarms about the dangers of piercings. You are correct. Unfortunately, these piercings and the jewelry they accommodate can lead to serious problems, not only with your teeth and oral cavity, but your entire body. They can damage teeth, cause cavities, periodontal disease, tooth loss, bone recession, a compromised immune system and, in rare cases, death.
In general, any oral piercing opens you up to an array of potentially harmful oral infections and complications. The mouth is full of germs, and introducing foreign objects permanently is not natural for your body’s health.
A tongue piercing can result in difficulty chewing with unnatural chewing patterns that may lead to swallowing problems. The jewelry produces excess saliva from the salivary glands, which throws off the natural balance of your oral cavity. Permanent nerve damage, excessive bleeding, and allergic reactions can also arise.
Metal jewelry also can easily come in contact with your teeth, leading to cracked, chipped, or damaged teeth. Your teeth are built to last a lifetime. Chips, cracks, and enamel erosion compromise their strength and shorten their lifespan.
Complications with some piercings occur by the introduction of hepatitis and herpes simplex viruses, and even more complications have occurred with bacteria entering the bloodstream and eventually lodging in the heart valve. In rare cases, such infections are fatal.
Though not technically a piercing, some people drill small holes in their teeth to place rhinestones or other jewelry. Drilling into a tooth is harmful for many reasons, including damage that can make a root canal required. The jewel also can attract bacteria that can directly go into the drilled cavity of the tooth.
At Dr. Steven W. Haywood in Timonium, we encourage patients with oral piercings to remove their jewelry before it puts their health at risk. But if you plan to keep yours, we advise you to have regular dental cleanings and check-ups. Do not wait if you suspect you may have a dental or physical issue. Our services include general and cosmetic dentistry.
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