Lip and tongue piercings could lead to life-threatening illness, the Irish Dental Association has warned.
The IDA said that the result of ‘holiday piercings’ often show up in September and October. People who get their tongue, lip or mouth pierced are unwittingly putting their lives at risk, the IDA claims.
“This has been identified by our members as a significant risk to young people’s oral health, and in extreme cases can result in life threatening illness and infections,” the Association says.
Young people with heart murmurs could be especially at risk.
When a tongue or lip is pierced, lots of bacteria could enter the mouth, and in some circumstances lead to Infective Endocarditis. In this conditon the bacteria attach to an abnormal section of a young person’s heart, leading to serious illness.
Dr Kevin O’Boyle of the IDA says the increasing popularity of oral piercings in Ireland means it is ‘only a matter of time before someone ends up very sick or dead as a result of this condition’.
The IDA warns that as there is no regulatory code in Ireland or the EU for piercing establishments, the risk of cross infection between those getting piercings can be high. This risk is heightened when abroad or at music festival where the standards of hygiene may be lacking, leading to a greater risk of contacting Hepatitis B, C, D and HIV.
“We urge people, especially students entering college later this month, not to undergo oral piercings,” Dr O’Boyle said. “We advise anyone who has recently acquired one to monitor for any symptoms such as fever. If any such symptoms present the wearer should consult their doctor.”
The IDA says its members have had an increased number of young patients reporting with chipped or fractured teeth, infection, gum loss and cases of tissue overgrowth around a piercing.
Dr O’Boyle said, “If you get an oral piercing you must accept that you will damage your oral health and in many cases what damage you do will be irreversible.”