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.
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
- Lip piercings can significantly damage the gums and bones resulting in the loss of bone and ultimately your teeth
Those results were reported in the Journal of the American Dental Association in July 2003.
Source: Professor Dimitris Tatakis, DDS, PhD, and colleagues from Ohio State's College of Dentistry.