The Dangers of Oral Piercings, Part 2

 

Tips To Lower the Risks of Oral Piercings

Keeping the jewelry and the piercing site(s) clean is of the highest importance. Unfortunately, adolescents are busy with school and social events, and may think that if they fail to remove their jewelry “just this once” that no harm will result. As noted above, this is false, particularly in regards to bacterial growth. The jewelry should be removed nightly and the teeth, piercing site and the rest of the oral cavity thoroughly cleaned. The jewelry should be cleaned as well and re-inserted only with very clean hands. Oral jewelry can harbor food particles, which can lead to bad breath and, of course, an increased risk of infection and cavities.

 

Talk to Your Child About Oral Piercings

While we hope your son or daughter isn’t wearing oral piercings, the reality is that you may not know for sure. To help prevent oral piercings and to help kids who may already wear them, it’s important that they know the risks. Just knowing that oral piercings can cause halitosis may keep your child away from this risky behavior, While no pre-teen or teen wants bad breath, many don’t appreciate the increased risks of nerve or dental damage or infection, so approaching it from the “social stigma” angle of bad breath may be your best bet, at least initially. Ask your child what he or she thinks about oral piercings and if his or her close friends have them. Avoid being judgmental, as that will result in a “shut down” on the child’s part. Helping your child understand the risks is the goal here.

 

If your child does have oral piercings, be sure he or she is aware of the dangers and agrees to inform you of any problems, regardless of size. If they experience tongue, cheek or lip swelling, increased saliva production, drooling, lack of taste sensation, bleeding or pain, they need to be brought to our office. If he or she is involved in sports, be sure they understand the importance of removing all oral piercings prior to practice or games.

 

Our NYC pediatric dental practice is devoted to giving your child the best chance at exceptional dental health. Don’t hesitate to call us at 212.267.0029 if you have any concerns!

 

Be sure to read Part 1 of this topic, posted under December, 2017 on our blog page.

 

The Dangers of Oral Piercings, Part 1 of 2

The Dangers of Oral Piercings, Part 1 of 2

 

Does your child have oral piercings in the lip or tongue? If so, you need to know the potential for damage to gums and teeth, as well as the possibilities for serious infections. If your child also has orthodontic appliances, the risks are increased.

 

The Popularity of Oral Piercings

StatisticBrain.com reports that approximately 14% of Americans have a piercing at a location other than the earlobe, with 13% to 29% of those piercings reportedly in the tongue or lip. Interestingly, the 13% figure applies to females and the 29% to males. While no statistics were found specifically for teens, it stands to reason that both pre-teens and teenagers have seized upon this method of self-expression. Of interest is the fact that, because these piercings are removable, it’s possible for an adolescent to have oral piercings that the parents are not aware of. It’s easy enough to remove them when at home and insert them at school.

 

The Health Risks of Oral Piercings

Although they may seem harmless to your child, severe consequences can result from lip and tongue rings, the most serious of which is infection. There are millions of bacteria swimming throughout the oral cavity, present 24 hours a day. Add to that the additional germs that come into the mouth as a result of handling the jewelry itself. Herpes, hepatitis and even HIV are known to be transmittable via a tongue ring.

 

Nerve Damage and Tongue Rings

While it’s normal for an individual after a tongue piercing to experience numbness, which can last from a few hours to a few days, the act of piercing itself can result in nerve damage. One consequence of nerve damage in the tongue is a decreased ability in taste perception.

 

Oral Jewelry Can Cause Dental Damage

As the lip and tongue jewelry clack against the teeth, it can chip them. Among those with tongue piercings, it’s common for them to “play” with the jewelry by moving it around the mouth or clicking it against the teeth. This can result in scratched or chipped teeth and/or damage to sealants and fillings.

 

Oral Piercings and Halitosis

Oral jewelry can harbor food particles, which can lead to bad breath due to bacterial growth. Tip:  If your child has oral piercings, this may be the one reason that he or she will remove and clean the jewelry every night!

 

Orthodontic Appliances Increase the Risk of Damage from Oral Piercings

All of the above problems exist plus the added potential to damage the appliance itself. Brackets can be broken, the jewelry can get caught in the braces, and the wires can be dislodged or bent, leading to a decrease in the appliance’s effectiveness.

 

Our NYC pediatric dental practice is devoted to giving your child the best chance at exceptional dental health. Don’t hesitate to call us at 212.267.0029 if you have any concerns!

 

Be sure to read Part 2 of this topic, posted under February, 2018 on our blog page.