Lip piercing. Tongue piercing. Bad for your health? The answer is “yes.” I have seen gum recession, infection, and tooth fractures as a result of tongue piercing. Other complications include swelling, nerve damage, and bleeding. Your mouth contains millions of bacteria, so infection is a common complication of oral piercing. Your tongue could possibly swell large enough to close off your airway. Tongue jewelry also presents hazards. You can choke on studs or barbells that come loose in your mouth. Contact with oral jewelry can fracture a tooth. I explain the risks to my dental patients and let them make their own decision.