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Tongue, Lip Piercings May Harm Teeth and Gums

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Tongue, Lip Piercings May Harm Teeth and Gums
By Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporter
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 20, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Getting your tongue or lips pierced? Don’t be surprised when your dentist is unhappy about it.

These piercings can do damage to your teeth and gums, a new study warns.

“Our study found that many people with oral piercings had deep pockets and gaps around their teeth, and receding and bleeding gums,” said study author Dr. Clemens Walter, a professor at University Medicine Greifswald in Germany. “These are all signs of periodontitis, also called gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss. “

Walter and his colleagues analyzed eight studies that included 408 people with a combined 236 lip piercings and 236 tongue piercings. One in five people had multiple oral piercings. The participants reported having their piercings ranging from one month to 19 years, and most folks wore metal jewelry in their piercings.

The studies compared teeth and gums next to the piercings with areas elsewhere in the mouth.

Researchers reported that 3 in 5 studies found deeper pockets around teeth next to tongue piercings, and 3 in 4 found wider gaps between teeth; 2 in 3 found bleeding gums, and four studies looking for receding gums found it in all four.

In addition, 3 of 4 studies looking at lip piercings revealed receding gums in the area.

The study review was presented Wednesday at a meeting of the European Federation of Periodontology, in Copenhagen. Meetings are typically preliminary and not published until peer-reviewed journals.

“The findings suggest that oral piercings, especially in the tongue, negatively affect the adjacent teeth and gums,” Walter said in a meeting news release. The damage to the tongues of those who had it done was especially noticeable around the two mandibular incisors (the bottom teeth), which are crucial for chewing food and biting. “

The likelihood of tooth and gum damage appeared to increase with time, he added.

His advice: “People with tongue and lip piercings should remove them to protect their teeth and gums from further damage,” Walter said.

About 5% of young adults have oral piercings, with the tongue being the most common site. According to study authors, women are four times as likely to get an oral piercing that men.

Previous research has yielded similar findings. The new research found that dentists should inform their patients of the potential complications associated with oral piercings.

More information

There’s more on oral piercing at the American Dental Association.

SOURCE: European Federation of Periodontology, news release, June 16, 2022

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