At Valmont Dental, Dr. Miller wants to provide every patient with the outstanding dental care they need to enjoy a healthy, great looking smile for a lifetime. While receiving regular dental care from your Boulder dentist and practicing quality oral hygiene at home – such as brushing twice a day and flossing daily – can do wonders for protecting the health of your teeth and gums, there are some habits that negatively impact your oral health. Some of these habits, like smoking and drinking a lot of soda, may seem obvious, while others can come as a surprise, especially if they’re part of your personality.
A tongue piercing can carry a lot of significance when associated with an individual’s own personal style. But these types of accessories can seriously jeopardize your oral health, say researchers.
Individuals who’ve gotten their tongues pierced have an increased risk for developing gum disease, according to the results of a Swiss study.
Researchers discovered more cases of receding, bleeding or inflamed gums among a group of patients with a tongue piercing, stated the research team who noted that the closer the teeth were to a tongue piercing the more impacted they were by the device.
Conversely, researchers found that individuals with a lip piercing seemed to have no adverse effects to their oral health caused by their jewelry.
The Risk of a Tongue Piercing
Another study of two women in Belgium with tongue piercings found that they suffered repeated gum damage due to the pressure of the metal stud against their teeth.
After between 8 to 10 years, the women had their piercing removed after bleeding gums and infection resulted in the repeated development of oral abscesses, loose teeth and the shifting of their teeth out of position.
Both women were required to undergo expensive and time consuming surgical treatments, while staying on a regimen of antibiotics to fight off the infections caused by their piercings. Despite the medical care they received, both were suffered irreversible tissue damage that could not be repaired.
Not only are tongue piercings problematic for your gum health, they also present a challenge when it comes to eating, drinking, speaking and can even cause irritation and damage to your teeth through the continuous rubbing and clicking.
Individuals with a tongue piercing are prone to play with the piercing, pushing it against their teeth and tapping it around the mouth. This causes a type of mechanical irritation that make the ball at the end of a piercing similar to that of a wrecking ball, say researchers.
The hard metal tip of the piercing hits against the tooth, and that constant tapping motion causes tiny cracks to develop in the surface of the enamel. Over time, these micro-cracks will slowly become large, eventually leading to a range of problems that include tooth sensitivity, chipped teeth and even tooth loss.
Tongue piercings also increase an individual’s risk of developing an oral infection, as the average human mouth plays host to over 500 types of known viruses, fungi and bacteria. While the mouth is designed to allow these diverse substances to exist in harmony, the stasis is broken when holes are punched in the protective layers that the mouth naturally includes.
Protecting Your Oral Health
For patients that want to better protect their long-term oral and overall health, researchers say the choice is pretty clear – the tongue piercing must come out. According to the data collected by the Swiss research team, removing a tongue piercing is the only option for successfully lowering the risk for all of the inherently troublesome problems the accessory can cause.
If you don’t want to say goodbye to your favorite fashion statement, you need to make a concerted effort to practice immaculate oral hygiene. Brushing, flossing, using an alcohol-free mouthwash and scheduling regular cleanings with our team at Valmont Dental are an absolute must to just maintain the current state of your oral health. While long-term damage may still occur, you can lower some of your risk for infection and gum disease.
Trying to decide whether to say goodbye to your tongue piercing isn’t an easy decision. If you need help making up your mind, make sure to talk with Dr. Miller during your next visit to our Boulder dental office.