By Lara Evans Bracciante
Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, April/May 2004.
Oral jewelry, including tongue and lip studs, can cause severe tooth and gum damage, according to recent studies published in the Journal of the American Dental Association and the Journal of Perinatology. While oral jewelry can crack and chip teeth, it can also weaken the bond between gums and teeth, creating pockets of bacteria. When left untreated, the bacteria can destroy the bone that anchors teeth. Unfortunately, early damage is difficult to detect, and when it is finally found it’s often too late to save the affected tooth.
Subjects who had been wearing a tongue or lip stud for four or more years, as well as those who had longer barbell stems, showed a higher incidence of tooth and gum damage.