Written by sciencenews.org Monday, 17 January 2011 10:53
While metal tongue studs may have more flash than piercings made of plastic, a mouthful of steel also harbors more bacteria, researchers report in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Adolescent Medicine.
The study is the latest addition to a slew of reports suggesting that metal tongue studs can cause infections, damage gums and chip teeth.
Physician Ines Kapferer of the Innsbruck Medical University in Austria and colleagues identified 68 women and 12 men, average age of 23 years, who had tongue piercings with studs inserted. The researchers examined tooth and gum health in each volunteer and removed the studs. The volunteers were then randomly assigned to get a new stud made of stainless steel, titanium, polypropylene (a plastic polymer) or polytetrafluorethylene (Teflon). After two weeks, the scientists removed those studs and took swabs of the tongue, the piercing canal and each stud itself.