More Reasons Not To Use Oral Barbells to Exercise the Tongue Muscles

 

 

 

More on Oral Barbells 

Athletes who always seem to be health conscious can’t seem to understand the risks of oral piercings and jewelry.

 

 According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), oral piercing and tongue jewelry place athletes at risk for serious medical and dental consequences.

 
 

“For years, we have been urging athletes to wear mouthguards when they are playing,” says AGD spokesperson Bruce DeGinder, DDS, MAGD. “Now we have to tell them to take the barbell out of their tongues.”

 
 

The AGD published an article in the March/April 2002 issue of General Dentistry ( the Academy’s peer-reviewed, clinical journal), one out of every five oral piercings results in infection from contaminated puncture wounds. They found athletes are more susceptible than the average person to develop infections due to the increased blood flow and breathing rate involved in vigorous exercise, as well as the increased chance of bleeding from a contact injury, both of which can spread infection more quickly.

 
 

In a survey of pediatric dentists, 24% reported that they had treated patients with complications resulting from oral piercing. Common problems included bleeding, airway restriction, and chemical burn rcaused by post-piercing care products. Damage to the teeth and gums is of course another common problem.

 
 

According to Suzann P. McGeary, DDS, the risks and dangers of oral jewelry and piercings are even higher for athletes. “The athlete who participates in contact sports may be particularly susceptible to airway restriction because an impact may dislodge the tongue jewelry, which could be inhaled. It also could be swallowed, which could cause injury to the gastrointestinal tract.”

 
 

Damage to teeth by tongue jewelry is another danger intensified by participating in contact sports. “We have seen so many cracks and fractures in teeth caused by clicking, tapping or rubbing the jewelry on them that it has gotten its own name – the wrecking ball fracture,” says Dr. DeGinder. “The danger of this is much higher on the playing field.” According to Dr. McGeary, the jewelry can also injure the gums and other soft tissue, as well as interfere with proper salivary functioning, conditions that decrease the body’s defenses against infection and disease.

 
 

Dr. DeGinder’s first suggestion regarding oral piercing is, “Don’t do it.”

 
 

Mixing tongue jewelry and a mouthguard is a particularly bad combination, says Dr. McGeary. “The jewelry may interfere with the mouthguard and cause increased salivary flow and gagging or inhibit breathing or speech.”

 
 

“Remove the tongue jewelry – not the mouthguard,” says Dr. McGeary.

 

 

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