No. There is always a risk of infection with any form of piercing. The risks to health are greater with mouth piercing because of the closeness of the airway.  A swollen tongue can interfere with breathing, and infections underneath the tongue can spread rapidly.  Severely infected piercings have been reported as causes of septicemia, and toxic shock syndrome.

There is also a risk if piercing is carried out with less than rigorous hygiene.  Equipment should be disposable wherever possible and other equipment should be sterilized between clients using a piece of equipment known as an autoclave. Autoclaves start at around $2950 and up, so it is possible that they are not in general use by piercers.  If the equipment is not sterile, infections such as HIV or    Hepatitis B or C infections could pass from client to client, or between client and  piercer.  In addition to possible infection, tongue rings and other oral piercings cann interfere with intubations, or insertion of a breathing tube.  In the event of such an emergency, paramedics will generally remove the appliance or appliances with pliers.

View the ADA briefing on oral piercing —