Now trending: Oral piercings and gems

By Alex Dagostino, DrBicuspid.com associate editor

December 12, 2022 -- Dentists are warning against a popular trend among young adults: oral piercings and gems. The trend may pose serious damage to one's oral health, according to a commentary published in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Many young adults are turning to oral jewelry to make a fashion statement. Some pierce their lips, cheeks, or tongues, while others place gems on their teeth. Regardless of the jewelry and placement, this trend may harm their oral health, according to the commentary's authors.

"Both the soft tissues and the teeth can be injured or damaged by contact with the jewelry, and the open wound in or around your mouth increases your risk," wrote Anita Mark from the ADA Science and Research Institute.

While oral jewelry can damage a person's mouth and teeth in many ways, the most common complication is infection at the piercing site. Two common ways the piercing site is exposed to potential infection include the use of nonsterile equipment to place the piercing and handling the piercing after placement. Other complications include changes in the way the teeth and mouth work together, such as slurred speech or increased salivary flow, and injuries to the patient's gums, tongue, or teeth.

Mark encourages patients and dentists to have a conversation before and after piercings or jewelry placement to discuss how one can reduce their risk of developing oral complications.

"Oral jewelry and piercings are popular fashion trends but be aware that they may come with a variety of risks to your oral health," the authors concluded.


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