Do Oral Piercings Lead to Increased Risk of Infection?

Woman showing off her tongue piercing

It has become popular it today’s culture to go out an buy oral piercing. Though this is an unique way to show originality, piercing the cheek, lip, or tongue come with a slew of health-related risks. Below are a few of the most common risks that can befall a person who has received oral piercing that can increase the chance for an infection.

Piecing Wound

Getting an oral piercing is essentially a puncture wound. Not only can the wound cause bleeding if done near a large blood vessel, or numbness if it cuts a nerve, but it can also be the main cause for infections. Sure, it is small and seemingly innocent but it can still have germs and other particles of food stuck in there.

The mouth has one of the highest amounts of bacteria in the body. It normally doesn’t do any damage unless it has a place where it can develop, like the pocket of a new piercing. There are the outside dangers from the actual jewelry which can cause redness and irritation. Oral piercings also aid the transference of the herpes simplex virus and both hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

Allergic Reaction

There are a large percentage of people who are allergic to low-quality metals that are used in cheap piercings. They can cause oral piercings to puff up, take on a green hue, and even have a white discharge. Infections are much more likely when this occurs because bacteria have a nice warm and wet envoirnment to thrive in. The worst part is, it is hard to know if an allergic reaction will take place until the piercing is already made. Wearing an oral piercing for just a few hours can cause some nasty side effects that can take weeks to heal.


This is a very rare condition, but none the less, its chances greatly increase for those who have gotten a oral piercing. Endocarditis occurs when bacteria enters the body through an open wound. The infection travels throughout the body until it reaches the heart where it can cause irritation, inflammation, and in worst cases bleeding. As previously mentioned there is tons of bacteria in the mouth, so oral piercings are very risky.

Tooth and Gum Damage

Having something metal in your mouth where it doesn’t belong can cause some serious damage. Teeth that come in contact with an oral piercing can become dented, chipped, or cracked. Gums can also injured. Piercings that are sharp can cause bleeding and if left unchecked the bleeding gums become a great place for bacteria to gather and cause an infection. There can also be gum recession and tooth loss for those who let their minor symptoms become worse.

The likelihood for tooth and gum damage increases with the size of the piercing. There is also a slim chance that the piercing may also become loose in the mouth and cause even more injuries. It is a costly medical procedure to undue the negative effects that oral piercings can cause.

Nadia Kiderman is an oral health specialist who help patients take care of their teeth.

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