According to one dental expert, tongue bars and studs are causing serious dental problems among young people, including cracks in the teeth, receding gums, and bone loss. A dentist from Canada has carried out extensive research into this problem and he doesn’t recommend getting a tongue piercing as it could cause serious conditions that may lead to tooth loss.
Dr Liran Levin, of the University of Alberta, says that playing with a tongue piercing in the mouth can cause irritation that could lead to recession of the gum tissue, which will eventually cause bone loss around the sockets. That’s not the worst of the problems though, Dr Levin warns that nerve damage, haemorrhaging, swelling, and infection could all flare up due to piercings in the mouth; he adds ‘When you’re sleeping and you clench your teeth, the piercing can break and be swallowed or inhaled as well. I see patients who have cracked teeth or receded gums and end up requiring a lot of dental treatment as a result.’
Over half of the young people questioned as part of the research complained of swelling in their mouth, while just under half said that bleeding was a problem due to their piercing. After examination, 14% were found to have fractured teeth and 26% had receding gums. Dr Levin says the risk of disease should not be ignored either and ‘proper sterilisation and infection control are also important when choosing a piercer. If you insist on getting an oral piercing, don’t play with it.’