Are tongue and lip piercings safe for your teeth?

Posted by Southeast Family Dental Mar 10,2021

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Facial piercings are no longer tongue in cheek. As fashion accessories, they’re becoming incredibly popular especially with young people. Unlike a tattoo, they aren’t permanent and won’t ruin your features forever. At least, that’s the common consensus.

In reality, tongue and lip piercings aren’t as benign as they appear. Because we’re dental and oral hygiene professionals, we see the effects they have on the mouth on a daily basis. And, if you did too, you might rethink the latest trend as a fashion statement. But we aren’t alone in our thinking as other dentists agree: “while it may be trendy, it’s such a bad idea.”

Let us spell out some of the potential dangers so that you have a better understanding. Here’s how a lip piercing or a tongue piercing may impact your oral health.

Chipped Teeth

A piercing feels good after a while. Therefore, it’s fun to play with and run through your teeth. There’s something cathartic about the experience, like playing with your hair or biting your nails. Of course, a lip or tongue piercing is made out of heavy-duty metal. Even the cheap ones are very durable. The result can often end up with the hard material coming into contact with your pearly whites and chipping the enamel. Once the white stuff goes, what’s left is the dentin which is yellow in color and also softer, resulting in more chipping. So, a cool accessory can turn into a cracked, discolored mess for lots of people. If you insist on having one, we suggest refraining from playing with it as one slip may end up ruining your smile.

Gum Recession

Your mouth is a delicate ecosystem and what you put inside it tips the balance. Sugary foods are the perfect examples. Due to their high sugar levels, they react with the plaque in your mouth to cause the teeth to erode. A piercing of the lip or tongue is pretty similar apart from the fact the impacts are often worse. While refined sugar is terrible for oral hygiene, there are ways to combat it such as brushing or using mouthwash. That way, the sugar doesn’t stay in your mouth all day. A piercing is different as the metal is continually creating new bacteria. One of the side-effects is that these bodies will start to chip away at the gums. And, once the foundation of your oral hygiene weakens, everything will follow suit.


Probably the worst-case scenario regarding bacteria is an infection. Because of the foreign nature of the piercing and the hole that is made, there are more areas for bacteria to stick. According to the American Dental Association, germs love the moist, warm areas of the mouth and they are perfect for breeding. This opens up the chances of contracting an infection as the scales tip in the bad bacteria’s favor. Sometimes, this leads to disease such as gingivitis, but the outcome can be more severe. If the infection gets into the bloodstream, it may work its way to the vital organs and cause a fatality. While it’s a worst-case scenario sort of deal, it’s possible with a lip or tongue piercing.


Let’s not forget about the cosmetic problem of a piercing. Sure, they look cool and they seem cheap, yet they aren’t in the long-term. Once the lip or tongue stud applies the pressure to your teeth, you’re fighting a losing battle. In the end, the inevitable happens – you contact Southeast Family Dental for assistance. We’re happy to help because we understand what it means to have a great smile, but we’re also money-conscious. We don’t want our customers to spend a fortune on oral hygiene particularly when it’s avoidable. Save your pennies and your mouth by factoring in the price element before letting someone with a piercing gun loose on your teeth.

These are some of the riskiest pitfalls, but they are by no means the only ones. Numbness of the area and a loss of taste can also occur. So, please always research the potentially harmful consequences and only use a professional.

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