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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Oral and Dental Complications of Piercing

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Keeping with the piercing theme, allow me to translate an article published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, during November 2006. Given the increasing popularity of oral piercing and a lack of research about it, several researchers studied 97 people with oral piercings in their tongue (n=45), lip (n=52), and cheek (n=1). The average age of their participants was about 20 and ranged between 13 and 35. These people had had their oral piercings for an average of 14 months.

The authors reported that 34% of the patients experienced complications including 23 with receding gums; 13 with fractured or chipped teeth; 14 with excess spit; 4 with bad breath; and 9 reported a metallic taste in their mouth. They also report that there appeared to be more damage from lip piercing than the other two forms or oral piercing, but caution against drawing too many conclusions from such a small sample.

Photo credit: tattooindiana

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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