Children’s Dental Health Month

Staff Sgt. Kristopher Auger>/b>
435th Dental Squadron

Years ago, the only types of piercing that were common were in female ears. Nowadays, it has become quite normal to see boys and girls of all ages with many body parts pierced, including their tongues and lips. Most people who have a part of their mouth pierced usually worry only about the initial pain. But the complications that come later are the ones that are the least visible and the most dangerous.

The most dangerous hazard of having a piercing in the mouth is infection. It is difficult to keep the area clean from bacteria while still maintaining everyday eating habits. Besides pain, another serious complication is swelling. A swollen tongue would not only make someone talk funny, but it could possibly swell up large enough to block an airway. Depending on the person’s immune system and oral hygiene, healing could take up to one month. Now imagine talking to people everyday for a month with an infected and swollen tongue – an infected, dirty tongue does wonders for one’s breath!

If the piercing enough doesn’t cause any problems, then you are lucky. Some other dangers of having metal jewelry in your mouth are not as obvious. Choking is a serious hazard that could come from the barbell or stud coming loose in your mouth. Having a metal stud in your mouth is also an easy way to crack or chip your teeth. It can also wear away the gum tissue.

Before deciding what kind of stud or hoop to have in your mouth, consider the lifetime of damage you could cause and decide if it is really that “cool” and worth all the potential health risks.