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Individuals thinking about a tongue piercing may want to consider the potential negative effects of this choice on their dental health, particularly their tooth and gum integrity.
Recent research from Austria published in the Journal of Adolescent Health may help confirm anecdotes about the risks associated with tongue piercing, Health Day reports.
According to the news outlet, scientists gathered men and women between the ages of 16 and 36 with their tongues pierced, and had them wear a variety of plastic, steel and titanium studs.
The participants who wore stainless steel studs were found to accumulate more bacteria on their tongues than those who wore plastic studs. More bacterial species on the tongue makes for an increased risk of infections, the Health Day article added.
Dr. Ines Kapferer, the study's author, concluded that "consumers should avoid stainless steel and titanium studs in favor of [plastic], not only because of bacteria and a potentially higher risk of local infection of the piercing channel, but also because of the risk of tooth chipping and gum recession."
The American Dental Association (ADA) officially opposes the popular practice of tongue piercing. Their listed reasons for this opposition include possible oral infections, gum recession and tooth damage - caused by the piercing process and stud quality, according to the ADA website. However, this area has a dearth of scientific studies.
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