The Risks of Tongue Piercing: 10 Ways It Hurts Your Mouth &...

The Risks of Tongue Piercing: 10 Ways It Hurts Your Mouth & Teeth

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Tongue Piercing Licking Lips
©Beccarra/Shutterstock.com

Oral piercing is a practice that seems to be gaining popularity in the United States.  The most common places to get a piercing in your mouth are the lips, tongue, cheek, and the uvula (the “hangy-ball” thing in the back of your throat.) Tongue Piercing Can Hurt Your Teeth!People want to get their tongue pierced for a variety of reasons.  One of the biggest reasons is to make them look trendy — people want to fit in, and if they can be seen as cool for getting their tongue pierced, then they’ll go for it. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of the many risks associated with getting your tongue pierced.  I think if people understood the dangers of tongue piercing, fewer piercings would be performed. I’m planning on writing a couple of articles about the risks of tongue piercing.  This first article will focus on ten ways that tongue piercing hurts your mouth and teeth.  The next one will talk about the negative effects that oral piercings have on the rest of your body.

The Risks of Tongue Piercing: 10 Ways Tongue Piercing Hurts Your Mouth and Teeth

1 – Tongue piercing causes chips, cracks, and/or fractures in your teeth. Wearing tongue jewelry can not only damage your teeth, but it can damage expensive dental work that you may have already had done. The effect of tongue jewelry on teeth is especially important when participating in exercise and athletic activities.  When in doubt, take the barbell out!  It is important to note that if you leave out your tongue jewelry for more than a few hours, it may be next to impossible to get the jewelry back in.

Tongue piercings are just one of the many ways you can chip or crack your teeth.  To learn more,read 10 Easy Ways to Chip or Crack Your Teeth.

2 – Tongue piercing causes gum recession, also called localized periodontal disease. If you wear a barbell in your tongue, it can rub up against and irritate the gums on the tongue side of your teeth.  This has led to gum recession in many people who have their tongue pierced.  In older adults, periodontal disease (not cavities) is usually the most common cause of tooth loss. 3 – Tongue piercing can wear down your teeth. Out of habit, many tongue-ring wearers often rub their tongue ring up against their teeth. Over time, this can wear down the enamel. Over time, you could expose dentin or experience increased sensitivity or cavities. If you insist on having a tongue piercing, trying out a shorter barbell may reduce the damage that it inflicts on your mouth — although it would be best to get rid of the tongue jewelry altogether!

Concerned about wearing down your teeth? Learn more about the four ways we wear down our teeth.

4 – Tongue piercing can cause speech impediments. Tongue piercing can make it more difficult to talk.  You use your tongue for making a lot of sounds when you talk.  If you get a tongue ring, it makes it a lot harder to speak correctly. 5 – Tongue piercing can cause nerve damage. An inexperienced piercing parlor worker may inadvertently cause permanent damage to the nerves in your tongue or other areas of the mouth depending on how the tongue is pierced.  The person doing the piercing needs to have a sound knowledge of the anatomy of your tongue.  If you do get your tongue pierced, it’s important to find a reputable, high-quality piercing parlor to cut a hole in your tongue. You probably wouldn’t enjoy having parts of your tongue permanently numb.  Many people hate having their tongue numb for a couple of hours after getting a filling — just imagine how hard it would be to not fully enjoy the taste of your food or constantly have your tongue give you that numb, tingling sensation. 6 – Tongue piercing can cause bad breath. Tongue jewelry is a good place for the plaque in your mouth to live.  It’s harder to brush if you have tongue jewelry.  Also, if you don’t regularly clean your tongue jewelry, it can accumulate bacteria that make your breath smell pretty disgusting! Tongue Piercing Damages Your Mouth! 7 – Tongue piercing can cause a space between your two upper front teeth, also known as a diastema. Although this isn’t very common, it does happen as evidenced by this case report written by orthodontists. 8 – Tongue piercing can cause excessive drooling. Tongue piercing can cause an increase in the amount of saliva you make.  Although saliva is good for the teeth, too much can be a problem.  You probably won’t look too cool with a tongue ring if you leave a puddle of spit everywhere you go! 9 – The metal tongue jewelry can cause a metal hypersensitivity reaction. You could end up being allergic to the metal in your tongue jewelry. If you were excited about having metal tongue jewelry and then end up having to wear a plastic barbell, you may be disappointed. 10 – Tongue piercing can cause pain and infection. The tongue piercing itself could cause pain and other complications.  Many people who have had their tongue pierced say that it was quite painful.  Here’s one story about how much tongue piercing hurts from Yahoo! Answers. You might get an infection depending on how sanitary the piercing parlor is. Most people have some degree of swelling after their tongue piercing. If you have a low tolerance for pain, you may want to reconsider.

More Reading on the Negative Effects of Tongue Piercing

I read a LOT of great articles while researching for this post.  Here are a couple you might be interested in:

Conclusion

Keep in mind that of all of the negative effects listed above, the most common are damaging a tooth and causing gum recession. If you’re thinking about getting your tongue pierced, please re-think your decision.  You may look cool around some of your friends, but the damage that tongue piercing does to your mouth isn’t worth it. Although I didn’t mention this above, because it’s not a huge consequence of tongue piercing, think about how much you love tasting your food —  especially with Thanksgiving tomorrow.  Do you really want to damage some of your valuable taste buds by getting your tongue pierced? For all of the Americans reading this, have a great Thanksgiving day tomorrow!  If you have any questions or comments about tongue piercing and oral health, please leave them in the comments section below.

24 COMMENTS

  1. Having your tounge pierced doesn’t hurt at all! It’s quick and painless, they don’t cut a hole in your tounge either they pierce through it with a needle. That’s why it’s called a tounge “piercing”. If you take care of it properly it won’t get infected and it will heal up rather nice and quickly. People without tounge piercings just wouldn’t understand. Their loss.

      • No it wont. Although it slightly depends on how it was pierced. so get someone who knows how to do it or you’ll suffer just like the consequences above.

      • No. Don’t be stupid. When the dentist last filled the cavity (hole) in your last tooth, did THAT affect your taste buds long term? Come on, are people like you REALLY the future of the human race? If so, let me off this fuckin carnival ride.

  2. no it cant ruin ur taste buds if is done properly because if u look at anatomy books and read bout the tongue the taste bus are in pairs apposite either side of tongue. sweet front tip, sour either side edges behind, salt same further back and bitter is back. ur tongue ring wud b in the middle so yea. i hav my tongue pierced and i still taste exactly the same as i did before.

  3. yes it can cause you to lose your taste and all the stuff above!…some people have to get part of their tongue cut off because it gets infected so just because it didn’t happen to you doesn’t mean it does not happen

    • Infection isn’t the piercings fault or necessarily the piercer’s fault either, if a tongue piercing done by a licensed professional gets infected its most likely that the person who got it done didn’t take care of it the way he/she was supposed to.

  4. As long as you get it done professionally, clean your mouth constantly with alcohol free mouth wash, get it dotted making sure the bar doesn’t go through a vain and take it out if any infection occurs they’re fine. Not many people get it done because of others but mainly for themselves. Any piercing comes with risks; as do tattoos and hair dyes, it shouldn’t stop you from trying it out so long as you’ve done research and you’re prepared for swelling from 2-6 days. I’m 15 and I know all of this, I think teens and their parents are smart enough to know what they’re doing before they do it. Not all kids are stupid, just the ones in the papers.

  5. I would’ve hoped to have seen something a little more unbiased from ‘professionals’ I think you’ve only succeeded in making people roll their eyes at this and get a piercing anyways. But thanks for trying

    • Hi Julie – Thanks for your comment – I am open to editing the article, I don’t want to come across as biased against them, but after seeing the damage that they can do to the teeth, I thought it was fair to give the public a look at the disadvantages to getting your tongue pierced since many people only see the glamorous side of it.

      If you have any suggestions on what to add, let me know and I can change it up. I don’t want people to simply roll their eyes at this. Thanks!

      • i literally laughed at half this article. i feel you are very uninformed about the piercing industry as a whole. i dont blame you, ppl fear what they dont know,inform yourself. so i have 21 piercings(had 25, retired 4 for no good reason). i have never had an issue with any of my piercings(thank god). if u care for ur body correctly it will heal itself, jus like after surgery ect. i have never: chipped a tooth, had my jewelry rub my gums or teeth, cause bad breath or cause paradontal desease. now i know im not a unicorn others have had the same experiences but not every piercee has. this is due to misinformation. with any piercing if u have the correct size jewelry and the highest quality metal u wont have issues unless u neglect your piercing. plz inform yourself and help inform others.

        thx for your time,
        DelilaDixion

  6. This whole article is bullshit. Obviously this person doesn’t believe in piercings. LOL I’ve had my tongue pierced for almost 4 years & I haven’t had a problem. It didn’t even really swell.

    • you and others (including me) are lucky that nothing bad happened to us after piercing our tongue. But just to let you know that there are some who are facing bad experiences through this so this article helps too, and at least making them aware of some bad effects that might happen after.

      “There are answer meant to be kept in secrets than to unravel its mystery and soon will have regrets.” =)

  7. Wtf man, don’t make it sound like tongue piercings are next to evil. Don’t tell someone to “think again” about getting a tongue piercing. If they want to, they bloody well can. I got my tongue pierced just a week ago, it’s completely fine now, getting it pierced didn’t hurt AT ALL. In fact, getting my cartilage pierced hurt more. Did you know that tongue piercings are the quickest piercings to heal? They’re the most painless. A cartilage piercing is more likely to get infected than a tongue piercing, and so many more people get their cartilages pierced than their tongues. Your mouth is the fastest healing part of your body, so no wonder a tongue piercing is the fastest piercing to heal.
    I suggest you take down your whole post about the evils of tongue piercings before you get outsmarted by more people who actually know what they’re talking about.

  8. As a veteran body piercer the only instances I have come across of issues with tongue peircings are when they are done by people who are not qualified. This is why its important to check a studio before getting any procedure done. I personally have only had issues with people who refused to look after the piercing properly which no piercer can be held responsible for. Infection does not begin at the source as it is done in a sterile hospital standard environment, if the customer dosent take the professional advice of the piercer thats their issue. Having said that most piercers are there to help.

    A friend of mine broke a tooth biting into a carrot are you going to write an article about the dangers of eating raw vegetables too??? In every profession there will be disreputable people including dentistry perhaps I shall write an article highlighting unscrupulous dentists who carry out unnecessary procedures just to make more money which has happened to me personally. Your article is biased with no attempt to remain neutral which would have gained your piece much more respect for its content.

  9. I’ve had my tongue pierced for 15 years.Just for the record, that was before it was “cool”. I have never had an infection, chipped a tooth, suffered nerve damage, or anything. I WILL acquiesce and admit that if one does not clean ones barbell regularly, ones breath may not be that great. But that is true when it comes to ALL oral hygiene.

    I think that if anyone gets a piercing to look bad ass in front of their idiot poser friends, they deserve an infection. So, thanks for hopefully stopping some dumbass clown teenybopper from giving REAL piercing aficionados a bad rap.

  10. I want to get my tongue done this Sunday or Tuesday and your freaking me out with this but I still want one the web and the tongue r the quickest piercings of If i can get my web done i can do my tongue done wish me luck

  11. I’ve had side by side tongue piercings (known as “venoms”) for over 6 years. In the time I’ve had them I’ve bitten my jewelry exactly once- when the initial bars were in and the swelling had gone down but my new bars (which were custom ordered for an exact fit) had not yet arrived at the shop. Fit is key and proper jewelry makes all the difference. For me, wearing jewelry called tongue labrets has minimized my risk of my jewelry rubbing my gums or hitting teeth, since the relatively flat bottom is less bulky.

  12. This wasn’t a very balanced argument. Yes all above can and may happen but almost all body mods carry risk. You can reduce risk by assessing that it is you who wants the piercing for you, not for others. Research to find a safe, clean, certified professional to carry out the piercing. Use the correct larger sized bars and follow cleaning instructions and procedures during healing.
    I reduce risk to my teeth by wearing silicone jewellery on a daily basis with smaller balls. I do not have any speech difficulties I am an interpreter by trade so my speech is of high value to my profession, speech changes upon initially having it pierced through the healing stage only as swelling can occur and the jewellery is quite large. My taste buds have not been affected at all.

    Just consider carefully and research thoroughly before you decide. Use common sense and listen to professional’s advice.

  13. well to all the people who said tounge piercings do not hurt well its differnet for diff people caz im a guy and i got mines done and that shit hurted for like only 3 secs but i have been drowling ever since and i never droll i hate it and now im having second thoughts and i already have a gap in my frotn teeth but its getting closed and im chaning my bar bell to plastic so i want cheap my teeth

  14. The tone of this article is ridiculous. Most people get body mods – including adult braces, ear piercings, cosmetic mole removal, breast implants, and tanning – for themselves. People get their tongue pierced because they enjoy the aesthetic, not because “they can be seen as cool for getting their tongue pierced.” I assume the writer doesn’t make all of their personal choices concerning their appearance for cool points, it’s absurd to assume the majority of people with unconventional piercings are just living their lives trying to seek approval from others.

  15. A tongue piercing should only ever be a problem for two reasons 1. Going to a unlicensed piercer or 2. failing to follow the aftercare procedure correctly. In most cases I have seen where problems have occurred with any piercing is the latter. Fortunately I can say I have had my tongue pierced for over ten years now and have never had a problem. I give it a good clean once a week with salty water (this is most natural to your body) and brush under my tongue. I don’t have any problems with my teeth or gums and no fillings at nearly 30.

  16. Wow this wasn’t a well thought out article you should really get all the facts straight before dissing a piercing you probably don’t have. For ONE everyone is going to talk a little funny after getting it pierced because your tongue swells up, TWO nerve damage will only happen if you go to an unlicensed Piercer, THREE excessive drooling not everyone gets it but a lot do that again is from a swollen tongue after two days it goes away. FOUR bad breath anyone can have bad breath if you don’t brush your teeth right or often enough that’s not the piercings fault its the person with poor Hygiene’s fault.

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