These days you see piercings on about every part of the body.

When Zachary Richardson got his lip pierced six years ago, he didn't think it would land him in a dentist's chair today.

In a recent study, researchers found 40% of participants with lip piercings had evidence of receding gums compared to only 7% with out piercings.

“It has receded about two to three millimeters from where it should be,” says Michelle Carr, Registered Dental Hygenist of Ohio State University.

Gum recession exposes the root of the tooth, making you sensitive to drinking anything cold, hot or sweet.

It is also more difficult to keep your gums clean, causing cavities and faster decay.

Nickel allergies are a separate piercing issue.

About 15% of people have them, but do not know it.

Even more serious problems are infections like HIV and hepatitis.

Reduce your risk by making sure all piercing equipment is sterilized, pierce only fleshy areas of the body that have good blood flow.

It is also important to scrub the skin with an antiseptic for 60 seconds or more before piercing.

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