Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Oral piercings affect on oral health

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Piercings have always been in style. It’s an adrenaline rush, a way of expression, a sense of freedom, and a style statement. This trend is here to stay. Back in the day people chose a simple minimalist ear lobe or nose piercing but today this trend has found its way to the belly, eyebrows, eyelashes, nose, lip, and even tongue!

The question is do we really need to ‘hop on the bandwagon’ just to ‘look cool’ without adequate research?

Dr. Kshama Chandan, celebrity dentist, founder of House of Tooth in Mumbai, explains the possible complications oral piercings can cause and how adequate research needs to be carried out before getting a metal poked in your mouth.

Talking about oral piercings she states that your mouth is known to contain millions of bacteria and usually infection and swelling are the most common complications post-oral piercings. For instance, your mouth and tongue may swell to the point where your airway is closed or you could choke if the piercing breaks into your mouth.

Your mouth hosts millions of breeding bacteria which is an ideal environment for an infection to take place. This includes blood-borne hepatitis, angina, and herpes. An oral piercing is a foreign object in the mouth that increases the chances of developing an allergic reaction and soft tissue infection.

Inflammation with Pain:
Pain and swelling are common symptoms of oral piercings. Worst case scenario your mouth and tongue may swell to the point where your airway is closed leading to difficulty in breathing or you could choke if piercing breaks in your mouth.

Uncontrollable bleeding:
If a blood vessel is punctured by the needle during piercing, it could lead to uncontrollable bleeding, gum recession and severe blood loss.

Chipped or cracked teeth:
If you bite too hard on your piercing there’s a chance of chipping or cracking the tooth. Constant contact can progress to a fracture which will eventually need tooth removal. Teeth with prosthesis such as crowns or veneers or previously done fillings can also be damaged if the piercing hits against them.

Receding gums:
Oral piercings can irritate and injure soft gum tissue causing long-term irreversible recession of gums, exposing the root of the tooth, and making the teeth more prone to decay and periodontal disease.

Piercings in the mouth can interfere with normal oral function and cause excessive delay in your ability to pronounce words properly, and the flow of saliva and cause difficulty with swallowing and chewing. If you choose to have your mouth pierced or if you already have – don’t fret! Make sure you get it done from a shop that is well sanitised and clean. Make sure the piercer keeps in mind all the sanitisation protocols, is well experienced and adequately trained, and the gloves and needles used are disposable and not reused for anyone else.

Guidelines to avoid complications:

  • Immediately just after the piercing make sure that your piercing heals, and doesn’t get infected. You can rinse your mouth with salt and warm water or an antibacterial mouthwash. Be patient for about 3/4 weeks till it completely heals. Choose a lightweight plastic piercing to reduce your chances of tooth damage.
  • Do not try to remove, disturb or twist your piercing before the area is completely healed.
  • Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco as it interferes with the healing process.
  • Avoid eating anything spicy, salty, or acidic. Stick to soft meals and comfort food
  • No hot drinks, like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

Keep checking for any signs of infection after a piercing. If you have an unusual discharge, swelling, tenderness, redness, bleeding, rash and fever, immediately consult a doctor nearby

Is there a safe way to keep an oral piercing?
Dr. Kshama says, “As long as your mouth stays free of infection and your oral piercings don’t interfere with your normal dental routine, they can stay in your mouth indefinitely. Practice good oral hygiene, brushing and flossing twice daily. Keep regular appointments for teeth cleanings and check-ups. Those already having a piercing should be screened by a dental professional for early detection of the adverse effects and for possible complications on a regular basis. Just make sure you see your dentist at the first sign of pain or swelling with your oral piercing. There are many other ways to express yourself which do not involve permanently damaging your mouth. But, if you are considering getting on or you already have an oral piercing, be mindful about following the advice and prevent damage.”

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