Four Ways Patients With Oral Piercings Can Reduce Their Risk Of Dental Damage

It's no secret that having an oral piercing, such as a lip or tongue piercing, puts you at an increased risk of dental issues such as chipped teeth and tooth decay. While the best thing you can do for your dental health is probably to remove the piercing, if you are unwilling to do that, there are still some ways you can reduce your risk of dental problems.

Don't play with the jewelry.

A lot of people with piercings like to play with the jewelry between their teeth. This puts you at a high risk of chipping your teeth or a previous filling, so it is best avoided. If you find that playing with your piercing is your go-to habit when you feel fidgety, try replacing it with another less dangerous habit like playing with some clay in your hands or tapping your toes.

Clean and rinse the pierced area after every meal.

It's common for little bits of food to get stuck in the piercing. This attracts oral bacteria to the area, and once they proliferate, you are at risk not only for an infection of your piercing, but also for tooth decay and gum disease. After each meal, rinse your mouth out with plain water. Also, examine your piercing (with clean fingers) and make sure there is nothing stuck in or around it.

Wear a mouth guard when playing sports (and at night).

It's common for the jewelry to bang against teeth while playing sports or when tossing and turning at night. This can cause chipped teeth and possibly damage to the gums. You can easily keep this from happening with a dental mouth guard. Be sure to have one fitted to your mouth by a dentist if you plan on wearing it long term. This will ensure it fits properly and does not cause any of your teeth to shift.

Keep an eye out for signs of a problem.

Many patients with piercings notice a little problem, but then they ignore it or assume it's no big deal, and it develops into a much bigger problem. If you do chip a tooth on your piercing, call your dentist right away. If you wait, you may end up needing a root canal or an extraction, rather than a simple filling. If you notice any swelling or redness around the piercing, these are signs of infection. Contact your dentist before the infection spreads through your body and becomes life-threatening.

Oral piercings are not good for your dental health. If you continue to experience problems like chipped teeth and infections, your dentist is likely to strongly recommend that you remove the piercing. For more information, contact Carpenter Dental, Charles M. Carpenter DMD, and Chas M. Carpenter DMD or a similar location.