What are the health risks of tongue piercings?

You may be thinking about, or may already have, piercings or mouth jewelry. While many people think this trend looks cool, it has many harmful side effects. Here are some common risks of oral piercing that you may not know about:
  • Millions of bacteria live in your mouth, so oral piercings may become infected easily.
  • Your tongue -- the most popular piercing site in the mouth -- could swell large enough to block your airway.
  • Piercing can cause uncontrollable bleeding and nerve damage.
  • You can choke on studs, barbells or hoops that come loose in your mouth.
  • Teeth can chip or crack from contact with the jewelry.
  • Bacteria that breeds around your piercing can cause bad breath.
Since your oral health is important for overall health, the effects of an oral piercing may have a greater impact than you think. You are not only risking your oral health, but also the well-being of your entire body.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.