Oral piercings, including tongue piercings, have become a popular form of self-expression among today’s youth. While they may seem like a trendy accessory, it’s crucial to understand that tongue piercings come with potential risks, one of which is infection. In this article, we will delve into the world of tongue piercing infections from a dental perspective. We will discuss the signs of ‘infection from tongue piercing’, how to recognize them, and whether an infected tongue piercing can make you sick.
How do I know if My Tongue Piercing is Infected?
One of the most common questions individuals with tongue piercings ask is how to identify if their piercing is infected. Dental professionals emphasize the importance of regular self-examinations and knowing what to look for. Here are some key indicators of an infected tongue piercing:
Persistent Pain and Swelling: While some discomfort and swelling are normal during the initial healing period, these symptoms should gradually subside. If pain and swelling persist or worsen over time, it could be a sign of infection.
Increased Redness: An infected tongue piercing site may appear more red than usual. This redness is often accompanied by tenderness when touched.
Pus or Discharge: The presence of yellow or green discharge around the piercing site is a clear sign of infection. Healthy piercings typically produce clear or slightly white discharge.
Foul Odor and Taste: An unpleasant taste or odor near the piercing site can indicate the presence of infection-causing bacteria.
Difficulty in Eating and Speaking: As an infection progresses, it may interfere with your ability to eat and speak comfortably. If you experience increased difficulty in these activities, consult a dental professional promptly.
Do Oral Piercings Get Infected Easily?
Oral piercings, including tongue piercings, are at a higher risk of infection compared to piercings in other parts of the body. This increased risk is primarily due to the unique environment of the mouth, which is teeming with bacteria. The oral cavity’s warmth, moisture, and constant movement create an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.
Additionally, tongue piercings come into contact with a wide range of bacteria and food particles daily, making them more susceptible to infection. For these reasons, it is crucial to maintain rigorous oral hygiene practices and monitor your tongue piercing closely for any signs of infection.
Can an Infected Tongue Piercing Make You Sick?
Yes, an infected tongue piercing can potentially make you sick. Infections in the mouth can lead to a range of health issues, including:
Oral Abscesses: Untreated infections can progress to form painful abscesses, which are pockets of pus. These can cause severe pain, difficulty swallowing, and even lead to systemic infections if left untreated.
Bloodstream Infections: In severe cases, bacteria from an infected tongue piercing can enter the bloodstream, causing a condition known as bacteremia. Bacteremia can lead to more serious health complications if not promptly addressed.
Fever and Chills: Systemic symptoms like fever, chills, and fatigue may develop as a result of an infection spreading from the tongue piercing site.
It is crucial to understand that an untreated infected tongue piercing can have far-reaching consequences. If you suspect an infection, seek immediate dental or medical attention to prevent complications.
Signs of Infection From Tongue Piercing
Recognizing the signs of an infected tongue piercing is vital for maintaining your oral health. Key signs to watch out for include persistent pain, swelling, redness, discharge, foul odor or taste, and difficulty with eating and speaking. Given the increased risk of infection in oral piercings, it’s essential to practice good oral hygiene, follow aftercare instructions provided by your piercer, and seek professional help if you suspect an infection.
Remember that prevention is the best defense against tongue piercing infections. If you decide to get a tongue piercing, choose a professional piercer with a clean and sterile environment and follow their guidance closely to ensure a safe and healthy healing process.