Tongue Piercing Effects on Teens’ Dental Health

It’s about that time – your child is now a teenager, and as a result, they’re beginning to discover who they are, their identity, and their interests. And as kids become teenagers, it’s common that they’ll begin branching out as they gain more freedom, and they’ll be finding new ways to express themselves. Some of those ways could be new clothes, music choices, extracurricular activities, and even tattoos and piercings. And one of the most popular types of piercings is the tongue piercing, which is a route that many dental professionals warn can have a negative effect on teeth as they frequently cause complications.

The most common tongue piercing is a barbell that’s pierced through the middle of the tongue, although there are several types, including piercings done through the side of the tongue. It’s recommended that anyone considering a tongue piercing consult an experienced piercer, and follow any post-piercing cleaning and healing instructions.

However, even when following instructions after the piercing, your teen’s dental health can still be at risk for complications. If your child has asked you about getting a tongue piercing and you’re considering it, or even if they have one already, you may want to take into account how their teeth would be affected.

See below some examples of how a tongue piercing can wreak havoc on your teen’s teeth, and why consulting a pediatric dental specialist can help alleviate some of those issues.

Teeth can move or become chipped

Due to the fact that many jewelry pieces for tongue piercings are large, they will often rub up against or bump the backs of the teeth. According to Colgate, constant contact between the tongue stud and teeth can cause the enamel to chip away. As the layer continues to decrease, sensitive areas of the teeth can be exposed. This can leave teeth feeling sensitive and may even lead to nerve damage. In some cases, a teen with these problems may need a dental procedure, like a root canal, to fix it.

This contact can also allow for teeth to loosen and move, causing teeth to become crooked, which would mean potentially expensive dental work down the road.

Tongue piercings can cause infections

Like many body piercings, tongue piercings must be carefully tended to in order to avoid infections. And even though your teen may be properly cleaning the piercing and following other post-piercing care steps, there’s still a risk of infection due to the amount of bacteria in the mouth. In fact, according to the American Dental Association, tongue piercings can lead to more serious illnesses, including gum disease, Ludwig’s angina, infective endocarditis and more.

Piercings can lead to other oral issues

When it comes to tongue piercings, teeth aren’t the only things that can be affected. Oral piercings are also known to cause problems with gums. Some issues include receding or injured gums, and it doesn’t stop there. People with tongue piercings could potentially also experience the jewelry becoming embedded in the tongue, which may require surgical removal.

They can make routine dental visits difficult

In some cases, tongue piercings can make it more difficult for dentists to take proper X-rays. X-rays are important for a number of reasons, including spotting cavities and evaluating wisdom teeth in the event they need to be extracted, which is a very common and sometimes necessary oral procedure in teens and young adults. If the dental X-ray isn’t taken properly, it can disrupt those needed evaluations.

Additionally, tongue piercing jewelry can also affect dental work that’s already been done, including braces, fillings, and crowns. These types of dental work are already expensive, so the damage done by a tongue piercing will not only set back the progress, but also might potentially cost more to fix.

Consulting a dental specialist can help

Is your teen considering getting their tongue pierced, or even has a piercing already? Consult one of our pediatric dentists at Palm Valley Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics today to learn the risks and how to avoid problems in the future, or even address current problems now. Our specialists provide both primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for children and teens, including those with special health care needs. We have the expertise needed to provide excellent consultation and care for your teen’s dental health, including helpful tips and practices to ensure the probability of tongue piercing complications is lowered, or if there is a current issue, how we can help alleviate it.

Check out more, including the services we provide, here to find out more on how we can help you and your teen.