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Lip Piercing Can Lead to Receding Gums

Tongue, Lip Piercings Also Linked to Other Tooth, Gum Problems
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WebMD Health News

Mar. 10, 2005 -- People who go in for lip piercing may get more than they bargained for. Besides attracting attention, they could also wind up with receding gums.

Lip piercing can lead to receding gums and may make the problem worse, say researchers from Ohio State University.

They compared the gums of 29 young adults with pierced lips to those of 29 with unpierced lips. All participants were about 22 years old, and roughly half were women.

About 41% of those with pierced lips had receding gums. That's much higher than the 7% rate seen in those with unpierced lips.

In addition, gums had receded more than twice as much in those with pierced lips. People who'd had their lips pierced for the longest time fared worst. Age, gender, and other factors didn't matter; only length of time with a pierced lip was important.

The study was conducted by professor Dimitris Tatakis, DDS, PhD, and colleagues from Ohio State's College of Dentistry. They announced their findings in Baltimore, at a meeting of the International Association for Dental Research.

Tongue Piercing Is Also Risky

Piercing the tongue isn't a better bet. Tongue piercing has already been linked to receding gums.

It's not the holes, but oral jewelry that's the problem. The jewelry rubs along the gum line, and the wear and tear can cause permanent damage.

Besides receding gums, lip or tongue piercings can also cause:

  • Chipped or fractured teeth
  • Nerve damage or inflammation at the piercing site
  • Periodontitis (where the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets) resulting in loose teeth or tooth loss

Those results were reported in the Journal of the American Dental Association in July 2003.

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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