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 23, who had tongue piercings with either metal or polymer studs inserted.

Tests for 80 bacteria linked to illness or infection showed that 67 of the 80 species had accumulated substantially more on the stainless steel studs than on polymer studs, and 28 of the bacteria showed up more on titanium than on the polymers.

Source: Science News
http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/68852/title/Tongue_piercings_worse_with_metal_