Tongue Piercing: Feeling Cool vs. Endangering Your Smile

Before you go for it, know about it


Tongue Piercing

Hey, we know tongue piercings can make you feel cool. But these body “mods” come with some crazy risks. Before you open wide for that big needle, check out what can go wrong with a tongue piercing.


Pain and infection

And we’re not just talking about the pain of the needle. We’re talking about pain from other causes that can lead to major health problems.

  • Infection: Your mouth is filled with bacteria. Put a hole in tongue and you’re opening a door for all that bacteria to crawl into. Then your fingers touch the post that goes into the hole, and that’s even more bacteria. Plus, there’s a serious threat of liver inflammation called hepatitis
  • Nerve damage: Talk about a loss for words. Your tongue could go numb or not be able to move at all. If a blood vessel is struck, you could be looking at a problem. If your tongue swells you could block your airway and cut off breathing.

All things to consider before you take the plunge.


And yes! It can really hurt your teeth, forever

Most tongue jewelry is shaped like a barbell. A post runs through the tongue and it’s held in place with two metal balls at either end. When you’re playing sports, eating, talking or even sleeping, those metal balls are bashing your teeth!

This abuse could lead to tooth fractures and cracks.

If the fracture is deep enough, you may need a root canal to fix it. So a tongue piercing could mean even worse than a cavity—and you did it on purpose!


Still going for it? Be smart about it.

If you’re going to do it, use your head and follow these tips:

  • Use small jewelry: This reduces risk of injury to your teeth.
  • Remove piercings: Especially during sports or when you’re eating.
  • See your dentist: Get a regular checkup to be sure your mouth isn’t taking too much of a beating.


Get more expert oral health advice:

Bulimia and anorexia: How they damage your mouth

Smoking and chewing tobacco make a mess out of your mouth

How you can practice good oral care and boost confidence


Give Us Your Feedback