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Every generation has its own idea of personal expression. At one time, a person with a pierced tongue or lips would have drawn a fair number of stares and double-takes in public. Now, those piercings are very common.

However, before you pick out your loop, stud, or barbell, you should have a talk with your dentist about the risks of oral piercing. They are significant, and you should consider weighing the risks against the benefits before moving ahead.

Your mouth and especially your tongue contain bacteria, and the moist interior of your mouth makes it a great place for bacteria to continue to breed. When you pierce your lips or tongue, you open to increase the chance that the bacteria can enter your bloodstream and cause an infection. You may put yourself at risk for hepatitis, or an inflammation of your heart valves, a condition known as endocarditis. Your jewelry can also pick up bacteria when you handle it, and that bacteria will be transmitted to your mouth once you put the jewelry in your mouth.

Your tongue has many blood vessels. If the piercing is not performed correctly, a blood vessel could be punctures which will lead to serious bleeding.

With the jewelry in your mouth, you may produce excess saliva, you may also find it harder to eat or speak. A tongue stud can chip a tooth, and repeated contact with your front teeth can result in gaps between your teeth.

If you are considering getting your tongue or lips pierced, you should talk to your dentist about the possible risks involved. If you have a piercing, you should speak with your dentist to find out if you are properly caring for your mouth and the piercing sites. To make an appointment with Dr. Brock Barras at Barras Family Dentistry in Lafayette, Louisiana, call 337-235-3395 today.