Home > Dental Damage > How Tongue Piercings Cause Tooth Gaps

How Tongue Piercings Cause Tooth Gaps

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 24 Jan 2011 | comments*Discuss
Tongue Piercing Gaps Teeth Tooth Front

Tongue piercings continue to be a big trend, especially in young people. While they aren’t to the tastes of every individual – especially parents of teenagers who have them – they have been viewed as relatively harmless.

Problems to Dental Health

Evidence is emerging now, however, that tongue piercings can cause numerous issues to dental health, including tooth gaps and chipped teeth. Several studies are aligned with this finding and suggest that those who are considering a tongue piercing should think very carefully about the decision.

The best way to prevent problems is to avoid getting a tongue piercing in the first place. But if you do make the choice, preventative measures are important to maintain good oral health.

Examining Case Studies

One case study involved a woman in her mid-twenties, who had received a tongue piercing seven years prior. As many people with tongue piercings commonly do, she ‘played’ with the piercing quite frequently. She would push the silver stud on the tongue piercing up between her top front teeth.

The result was that over time, a gap was created that had not been there prior to the piercing. To correct the gap, she then had to undergo orthodontist work by having braces placed on her teeth, which pushed her teeth back together at the front.

Dangers of ‘Playing’ With a Tongue Piercing

In another study, researchers looked at teenagers who had tongue piercings. They found that a high percentage of the teenagers would regularly push the stud of the barbell up and against their front teeth, leading to gaps between the upper two front teeth.

Gaps and Other Problems

Gaps still remain only one of many dental problems resulting from a tongue piercing. Other issues include chipped or fractured teeth, infection and also damage to gums. In other studies, it has been found that the stud on the piercing can rub against gums, causing them to recede and leaving the sensitive tooth exposed to bacteria.

In one study, people who had a tongue stud for four years or more showed receding gums. For those who had a long-stemmed barbell for two years or longer, half of them showed receding gums. Almost half showed chipped teeth if they had a barbell in their mouth for four years or more. Further issues include problems with chewing and swallowing, and swelling of the tongue.

Preventing Problems

While the overall recommendation is to avoid getting a tongue piercing in the first place, if you do choose to get one there are some safety measures you can take to help protect your oral health. It is strongly recommended that you get consistent checkups at the dentist to look for the signs of receding gums, chips and the beginnings of a gap in teeth.

Mouth guards can be worn at night to prevent the stud pressing and resting against the gums. This can help to prevent receding gums that are caused by prolonged pressure at night. Tongue piercings remain a popular trend but as they do cause problems, if you choose to get one make sure you continue with frequent dental checkups.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Zee
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    Hi Since i had root canal done has caused me lot of doenside on my health evdn though i look after myself and diet. Recently i have had lump…
    15 February 2019
  • Sue
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    Like Ann, I have also read the What Doctors Don't Tell You article on Ozone dental treatment and would like to find a dentist in the London…
    24 January 2019
  • Sha
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    I live in Dorset and want to know the nearest dentist that will treat my receding gums with ozone treatment . A honest dentist as I’ve had…
    10 November 2018
  • Ann
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    Do you know any dentists in London or outer London who use ozone to kill bacteria in teeth and gums please? 'What Doctors Don't Tell You' has…
    28 October 2018
  • nicola
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    Hi I am looking for a dentist that uses ozone therapy in the south west pf England. Is there a list anywhere?
    12 April 2018
  • Dri
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    I extracted the tooth to 1 month ago and it is not healing before the ectration I took 3 boxes of amoxiline and after the extraction two more…
    15 November 2017
  • DiU
    Re: Effect of Dentures on Digestion
    @Bunty - you never think about the problems that dentures can cause. You've completely put me off having any even after…
    30 October 2017
  • Bunty
    Re: Effect of Dentures on Digestion
    Hi, I have had partial dentures for 18 months and can't cope, at all, with them! They fall out, bouncing about and I can't eat…
    28 October 2017
  • Kat
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    I have a 'pocket' in my low jaw bone below a crowned molar. The tooth is starting to be sore and I am having early signs of infection. My…
    20 July 2017
  • Ches
    Re: Effect of Dentures on Digestion
    I had dental transplants done 2 yrs ago.....lower only....I have had to have them refitted twice with new sockets.....at the…
    3 April 2017