Body piercings, especially to the lips and tongue, can cause serious dental complications, such as gum bleeding and broken teeth, according to research conducted by the University of Tel Aviv.
In the study of 400 consecutive patients, who were aged 20 years on average, every fourth person with a piercing in the tongue or lips revealed symptoms such as gum bleeding.
Some 13.9 per cent had broken teeth or other dental complications, the study found.
Dental professionals were warned of the increasing number of patients with oral piercings and to provide appropriate guidance to patients regarding the health risks.
Studies have shown that people who have piercings in their mouth are much more likely to have injuries to their teeth and gums.
Of concern to health personnel are the associated risks, which include damage to dentition, infection, speech impediment and nerve damage.
The study found receding gums, a problem that can lead to tooth loss, in 35% of those who had pierced tongues for four or more years and in 50% who had worn the long-stemmed barbells for two or more years. Researchers say that during tongue movement, long-stemmed barbells are more likely to reach and damage the gums than short barbells.
Long-term lower lip piercings can lead to tooth loss, according to a German dental organization.
If the back of the piercing pushes against the gums, it can wear them down and lead to bone decay, says proDente, a Cologne-based organization of dentists, dental technicians and industrial and dental suppliers.
Given information recommend you discuss potential risk factors with your dentist before mouth piercing. Taking precautions now will increase your chance of keeping your teeth for a lifetime.