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Piercing can cost you your teeth, warn dentists

Dentists see gum loss where the unpierced rarely have problems, writes Frank D. Roylance.

By Frank D. Roylance.

People who jab studs through their lips and pierce their tongues are not usually eager to hear a lecture on gum disease.

But Dr. John K. Brooks tries anyway. He and two colleagues at the University of Maryland Dental School say there is growing clinical evidence that oral piercings increase the risk of gum disease, painful infections and tooth loss. They present their case in last month’s issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

With professors Kenny A. Hooper and Mark A. Reynolds, Dr. Brooks’s report on five patients who suffered gum loss and other dental problems were traced to their lip and tongue studs.

People who insist on wearing studs in their mouths “have to maintain exquisite oral hygiene, brushing and flossing,” says Dr. Brooks.

Even so, “there is no escaping that they will be at risk for damage to their gums and their teeth.”

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