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An oral piercing is a hole in your lip, tongue, cheek, and or uvula (the tiny tissue at the back of your throat). This is so an individual can express themselves through a piece of jewelry attached to their body. This may be an appealing way to express your style, but it can be quite dangerous. Everyone’s mouth is filled with bacteria that can lead to infection and swelling. Tongue piercings also can put you at a higher risk for bleeding and blood loss, because you have a lot of blood vessels in that area.


  • Infection
  • Prolonged bleeding
  • Pain and swelling
  • Chipped of cracked teeth
  • Injury to your gums
  • Interference with normal oral function
  • Blood-borne diseases
  • Endocarditis
  • Make it hard to speak, chew, and/or swallow
  • The jewelry placed may also cause you to have an allergic reaction

People with certain conditions that might make it hard for the piercing to heal are particularly at risk for health problems; those include but are not limited to: heart disease, diabetes, hemophilia, and autoimmune diseases.

While your piercing is healing, you should be able to remove the jewelry for short periods of time without the hole closing. If you get a tongue piercing, the piercer will start with a larger “barbell” to give your tongue room to heal as it swells. Dentists recommend that after the swelling has gone down to put in a smaller piece of jewelry, so it is less likely to hurt your teeth and gums.

When caring for your mouth after an oral piercing it is good to take the jewelry out and properly clean around the piercing. If you have a tongue piercing it is especially important to take the jewelry out and to brush your teeth and your tongue to ensure you get all the bacteria out of your mouth. You might want to even take the jewelry out while you sleep or before you decide to do something active. To prevent injury.

You can expect short-term swelling, pain, and extra saliva with oral piercings.

Signs to watch out for:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Lots of bleeding
  • Discharge
  • A bad smell
  • Rash
  • Fever

If you have any of these signs see a healthcare provider. Please remember that if you feel that something just isn’t right seek medical attention as well.

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