Burke Family Dentist Always concerned about your oral health, Burke Family Dentist Dr. McMillan feels it wise to provide you with a complete understanding of the health-related risks of piercings to the tongue, lip, or cheek – something you may not have considered before.

With every piercing, a wound is created. Due to the vast amount of bacteria in the mouth, oral piercing wounds run a higher risk of infection. Compounding that is the introduction of additional bacteria via the handling of the jewelry before inserting it.

Statistically, people with oral piercings (particularly long-stem “barbell-style” tongue jewelry) have a higher risk of developing gum disease than those without. Each time the jewelry causes an injury to your gum tissue, it increases the likelihood of gum recession, which leads easily to loose teeth and tooth loss. In addition, more often than not, someone wearing mouth jewelry at some point will chip or crack a tooth.

Tongue jewelry stimulates an excessive production of saliva, which in some ways is a positive because saliva is useful in washing away bacteria that’s building constantly on your teeth. The less appealing side however, is temporary or permanent drooling. Of concern too is tongue piercing can result in difficulties with chewing, swallowing food, and speaking clearly.

Should you decide to proceed with an oral piercing, make an appointment with Dr. McMillan the moment you suspect a problem or have concerns. It’s critical that your teeth, gums, tongue, and soft tissues be checked regularly by our Burke family dentist to ward off potential oral health issues.


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