A mouth piercing is a piece of jewelry applied to the soft tissues of the mouth.

Lately, displaying a mouth piercing has become a form of self-expression and can be of different shapes and materials.

What are the risks of having a pierced mouth?

When considering a mouth piercing, dental health should be the first consideration, but most people treat this issue superficially.

When piercing the tongue muscle there is a possibility of excessive bleeding, as the tongue is heavily vascularized.

Immediately there may be difficulty chewing, swallowing and even speaking.

Because the tongue is in constant movement, it will take a longer time to heal.

The risks of mouth piercing can be divided into two categories:

1. Potentially life-threatening risks:

  • Infection:

Numerous bacteria are present in the oral cavity, so a mouth piercing can cause an infection.

If you play with the piercings, microlesions of the soft tissues in which they are fixed can occur after application and become infected.

Infection can also be caused by improperly sterilized instruments with which the piercing is performed.

They can transmit numerous pathologies such as: Syphilis, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, tuberculosis.

Pyogenic germs that cause pus formation, such as streptococci and staphylococci, develop from a single infectious focus and spread through blood vessels.

A persistent infectious focus (e.g., dental) can lead to septicemia.

Most of the blood vessels of the tongue are directly connected to the brain and other areas of the body. Injury to these vessels can lead to septicemia, a generalized infection throughout the body.

In septicemia, mortality is about 30-80%, with a poorer prognosis in gram-negative infections, the elderly, those with immunosuppressive conditions or associated tare.

  • Prolonged hemorrhage:

When the puncture needle has touched a blood vessel, bleeding can occur that is difficult to control, resulting in a large amount of blood loss, given that the tongue is a highly vascularized organ.

  • Inflammation and pain:

Inflammation and pain are symptoms commonly experienced after the application of an oral piercing. Significant swelling of the tongue can cause respiratory blockage. Oral piercing has also been associated with neuralgia, signifying intense and long-lasting nerve pain.

Injury to any lingual nerve can lead to irreversible damage causing inability of the organ to function normally.

Please note: The needle used to insert a buccal piercing is 7 times larger in diameter than that used for dental anesthesia.

  • Endocarditis:

A buccal piercing can be a way for bacteria to enter the bloodstream, thus reaching the heart and posing an additional risk in causing endocarditis.

  • Asphyxia:

The tongue is in constant motion. Movement that can cause the piercing to unscrew or even break. If parts of the piercing are sucked into the lungs, suffocation of the wearer can occur.

2. Risks that do not endanger the wearer’s life:

  • Cracking or breaking of a tooth:

During speech, tongue movements and chewing, the metal from which the piercing is usually made can fracture or break the crown of a tooth.

  • Periodontal damage:

Metal piercings can injure the soft tissues of the gums, causing them to recede.

  • Development of tics:

Tongue scraping and touching of teeth or gums with metal ball.

Case study: Patient wore piercing for 10 years.

The periodontal tissue on the lingual aspect of the roots receded 3-4 mm, exposing the root of the tooth, as can be seen in the adjacent images.

  • Impairment of normal functions:

Mouth piercings can lead to hypersalivation or affect the correct pronunciation of some words by altering certain consonants.

They can also cause halitosis, chewing and swallowing difficulties.

  • Allergies:

Some people may develop allergic reactions to the materials used to make piercings.

We do not recommend the use of piercings of any kind. However, if a person chooses to wear such jewelry, it is desirable to use piercings made of non-corrosive and non-toxic materials.

  • Scars:

After piercing the lip, tongue or cheek, adjacent tissues may be damaged, resulting in unsightly scars.

Absolute contraindications:

Persons who have:

  • allergies

  • asthma

  • periodontal disease

  • respiratory insufficiency

  • enamel hypoplasia

  • bruxism

  • braces

  • dental prosthetics


  • Piercing is trendy-cool. It isn’t. Health and hygiene rules must be in harmony with aesthetic ones.

  • Throughout human evolution, during the period of tribal organization, changes in physical appearance, made by self-mutilation, were intended to intimidate the opponent. With the evolution of society, such practices have become obsolete.

  • Piercing improves sex life. The quality of a person’s sex life is determined by their overall health, not by the jewelry they wear.

  • Attracts attention. It’s true that piercings can attract attention but not necessarily in a pleasant way.

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