Does Your Teen Want Oral Piercings? Learn Why They are So Bad
A Form of Self-Expression
Lots of teenagers regard oral piercings as being a great form of self-expression. While these piercings might look cool they can be incredibly bad for oral health. The main reason why this is the average mouth contains millions of bacteria, and while some are benign others aren’t quite so friendly. An oral piercing gives these bacteria the easiest way possible to enter into the bloodstream where they can cause infection.
Long-Term Damage to Teeth and Gums
Another problem with oral piercings, particularly with tongue piercings is that they can often cause the tongue to swell up so much that it makes eating foods or even just swallowing uncomfortable or near impossible. In addition, the there is always the risk that part of the piercing could break off in the mouth, presenting a choking hazard. This is bad enough without even considering the long-term damage these piercings can do to teeth and gums. So what are the most common problems with these types of piercings? They can include:
- Pain, infection and swelling as the moist environment of the mouth is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. If an infection is not treated promptly it could even become life-threatening, and it’s possible for the tongue to swell up so much it could potentially block the airway.
- Damage to teeth, gums and fillings. These oral piercings can often clack against the teeth and gums, gradually wearing away the gum tissue and potentially fracturing or cracking the teeth. In addition they can also damage any fillings.
- Nerve damage, as one side effect of having a tongue piercing is numbness that is caused by nerve damage. This numbness can be temporary but sometimes may be permanent. In addition it can affect the sense of taste, and the piercing itself can lead to substantial blood loss.
- Excessive saliva production, as a piercing can stimulate the production of saliva leading to drooling. This has to be one unpleasant side effect that any self-respecting teen would want to avoid. Piercings can also make it more difficult to eat and chew food properly and even to speak clearly.
- Piercings can make it difficult for pediatric dentists to take good x-rays, making it more difficult to diagnose any problems.
- Transmission of disease, as unless the oral piercing is carried out in sterile conditions is possible to contract hepatitis B and C or even the herpes simplex virus.
Discuss All the Risks
Obviously if you have an older teen it can be very difficult to stop them from having an oral piercing if they are completely set on the idea. However it’s a good idea to discuss all the risks with them, including the long-term consequences to their teeth. Point out they could end up having costly dental bills for life in order to put right the potential damage that can be caused by oral piercings. If they are still set on the idea then try to encourage them to at least go to a reputable piercing studio that uses hospital grade sterilization procedures. In addition they should ask to see the health certificates and should check to make sure all the needles and jewelry are kept in sterilized packaging.
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