Do Oral Piercings Cause Infections or Other Problems?

by | Jun 30, 2023 | Blog Posts

oral piercings

If you’re considering getting any oral piercings, you should know that they can raise a few different concerns regarding your oral health. While many people pierce their tongue or lip without any issues, that’s not the case for everyone. It’s important to understand the potential risks that come with this decision.

What to Be Aware of with Your Oral Piercings

Before you receive an oral piercing, there are several potential outcomes you consider. These include the following:

Potential for Infection

There is a considerable amount of bacteria in your mouth, and piercings open the door for that bacteria to cause an infection. Infection can range from simply uncomfortable and unpleasant to life-threatening if not treated properly.

If you’re going to get a piercing, it’s crucial to sterilize and maintain good hygiene, particularly while it heals. Keep the area of the piercing clean at all times, make sure to brush and floss, and use an antiseptic mouthwash to eliminate bacteria. If you experience redness, swelling at the site of the piercing, a fever, or chills,1 it is imperative to address it promptly.

Allergic Reaction

Sometimes, the metal piercing can cause an adverse reaction, resulting in redness, swelling, itchiness, and more. This sensitivity may not be something you’re aware of prior to the piercing, as the internal tissue that comes in contact with the metal is often more sensitive than external tissue. One possible way to avoid this problem is to choose jewelry with low nickel content.

Damage to Teeth, Gums, and Dental Fillings

Metal jewelry in your mouth can chip or scratch a tooth, cut the mouth’s soft tissue, or even damage a dental filling. Tongue piercings, in particular, tend to cause these issues, as they come in constant contact with these parts of your mouth.

Increased Saliva Production

Putting anything in your mouth can stimulate the salivary glands and produce excess saliva, and having a tongue piercing means always having a foreign object in the mouth. Thus, excess saliva production remains a constant possibility.

Nerve Damage

Puncturing soft tissue can affect the nerves, which in the case of tongue piercings can sometimes lead to temporary numbness, altered sense of taste, and other issues. For some people, the nerve damage is permanent.

Avoiding Issues with Oral Piercings

Again, many people receive oral piercings and don’t experience any long-term issues. However, those who never encountered a problem likely also took the proper measures to avoid complications. If you’re getting a piercing in your mouth, make sure to do the following:

Sanitize Regularly

Antiseptic mouthwashes, regular rinsing, and consistent brushing and flossing can help to keep the piercing site free of infection-causing bacteria. Also, ensure to keep the area clear of any food debris that may cling to it.

Be Careful with the Jewelry

It’s important to remember the damage oral piercings can do to your teeth and gums. You should also avoid playing with or biting the piercing. These habits are common and can be somewhat unconscious, so take care to keep your oral health in mind.

Address Signs of Infection Promptly

If you feel the piercing site may have become infected, do not hesitate to contact a dentist or physician immediately. Infections can be treated easily if addressed early on, but they can become a serious issue when ignored.

Want to Know More?

If you have any questions or concerns regarding how oral piercings might affect your oral health, you can address them by contacting Empire Dental Care today. Give us a call at 585-671-1650.





Dr. Cohen has been practicing dentistry in private and public settings for over 10 years, completing her DMD degree in 2010 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Committed to providing dental care of the highest level, Dr. Cohen relocated to Rochester in 2016 to pursue advanced dental trainings at the Dental Urgent Care Fellowship at The University of Rochester, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, graduating in 2017, and the AEGD Residency program in 2019. She recently completed an additional advanced General Practice Residency program at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany NY. This summer she moved back to Rochester with her husband Kevin, a native Rochesterian, to be closer to family. Throughout her career and personal life, Dr. Cohen has shown her genuine compassion and care to people and patients from all walks of life. She volunteered in underserved areas, practiced in clinics for patients with complex special needs, and treated medically compromised patients among others. She also taught and mentored other dentists and students helping them achieve their professional and personal goals. Most of all, Dr. Cohen’s warm personality and love of people create a welcoming, comfortable feeling for both patients and staff.