January 7, 2014
Article Title: Lip Piercing: The Impact of Material on Microbiological Findings
Author: Ines Kapfere, DMD, et al.
Journal: Classic 100 Articles, #35
Major Topics: Adolescent Behavior, Body Piercing
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess microbiological findings in association with labial piercings made of different materials.
Methods: Study subjects were recruited via posters and flyers displayed on the Innsbruck Medical University campus (Switzerland) and other schools. The study cohort included 80 subjects with lip piercings that had to be in situ for at least 6 months. Participants completed a questionnaire to determine demographic data, smoking habits, characteristics of the piercing, and post-piercing complications. A dental and periodontal exam were performed at which time the personal piercing of the subject was substituted with a sterile test piercing made of one of 4 commonly used piercing materials (titanium, stainless steel, polypropylene, and PTFE). These piercings were kept in situ for 2 weeks then removed so that microbiological testing could be performed
Results and Conclusions: There was no statistically significant differences between material groups in relation to baseline data. In samples from stainless steel piercings, the total microbial load was significantly higher than the other materials (P<.05). Ten periopathoenic species were found at significantly higher levels on steel than on the other materials.
Conclusions: Piercing studs made of stainless steel may promote the development of a pathogenic biofilm.
Assessment: This study was very thorough but does not make any recommendations for how to advise patients regarding lip or intra-oral piercings.