Comprehensive assessment of dental behaviour and oral status in patients with tongue piercing—results of a cross-sectional study

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Aim of this cross-sectional case-control study was the comprehensive examination of oral health, oral behaviour and oral health-related quality of life of patients with tongue piercing. Furthermore, different piercing related factors and the presence of habits should be considered regarding their potential association to piercing-related complications.

Material and methods

Participants with tongue piercing (n = 50) and a matched control (n = 50) were included. Dental examination included decayed-, missing- and filled-teeth-index (DMF-T) and the presence of non-carious tooth defects. Periodontal examination contained of periodontal probing depth (PPD), bleeding on probing (BOP) and recession. Piercing-related factors, oral behaviour as well as oral health-related quality of life [German short form of oral health impact profile (OHIP G14)] were assessed based on questionnaires. Statistics: Man-Whitney U test, chi-square and Fisher’s exact test (significance level p < 0.05).


Participants with tongue piercing suffered from worse DMF-T, PPD, BOP and recession (pi < 0.01). Higher prevalence of enamel cracks and trough-shaped abrasions were found in piercing-group (pi < 0.01). Additionally, participants with tongue piercing showed worse oral behaviour, insufficient cleaning of piercing and in majority of cases (80%) calculus formation at piercing surface as well as comparable OHIP-G14 to control (p = 0.39). While piercing design was associated to both, recession and non-carious tooth defects (pi < 0.05), only infractures of enamel were associated to the presence habits (p = 0.04).


Patients with tongue piercing show insufficient dental and periodontal health as well as reduced oral behaviour. Thereby, piercing design and wearing period is associated to recessions and non-carious tooth defects.

Clinical relevance

Increased attention of patients wearing tongue piercing in dental practice is necessary.
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