Gap Teeth, Hep C and Abscessed Breasts: A Bad Week for Body Modification
That's the unfortunate news to emerge from three studies this week, which, combined, might put a serious dent in your plans to flaunt a new stud or PBR tattoo.
Here at Surge Desk, we assume you've researched the risks of your personal body modification plans before you get inked or poked. But if you're not up to date on this week's findings, here's a quick primer:
From tongue-pierced stud to dental disaster
So, you want to have a barbell inserted into your tongue using forceps and a 14-gauge needle. You'll be in good company: Tongue piercing is a ritual that dates back to the Ancient Mayan people, and today, celebrities like Drew Barrymore and former "Scary Spice" Mel B are keeping the custom alive.
But apparently no one told the Mayans how the laws of physics might affect their jewelery-clad tongue.
"It is a basic tenet of orthodontic that force, over time, moves teeth," said Dr. Sawsan Tabbaa, lead author on a study out of the University at Buffalo, SUNY this week .
Tabbaa's team is warning that repeated "playing" with one's tongue ring -- pushing it forward onto the back of the teeth -- leads to an uncomely gap between frontal chompers.
And to make matters worse, treatment is expensive and about as awkward as your teenage years. The subject in this case study was forced to wear "a fixed braces appliance to push the front teeth back together."
Tattooing's transmission terrors
So, you want to use your body as a canvas to express your individuality? By all means, be our guest -- and know that you're not alone. An estimated 36 percent of Americans under 30 are now promoting their effervescent personalities with at least one tattoo.
But some of those same Americans are also suffering from hepatitis C, transmitted by dirty tattoo needles or ink kept in unsterilized containers, according to an analysis of 124 studies by researchers at the University of British Columbia.
They concluded that teens, inmates and those with multiple tattoos are significantly more likely to suffer hep C because of an ink experience gone awry.
Perhaps inspired by the plight of fellow Canadian Pamela Anderson, who alleges she contracted hepatitis C after sharing a tattoo needle in 2002, the research team is also bent on scaring the hell out of anyone with ink.
"The chemical ingredients in tattoo dyes can include house paint, ink from computer printers or industrial carbon," their press release helpfully reminds readers. "Toxic contents of some tattoo inks may be entering the kidney, lungs and lymph nodes through the circulatory system."
And about that nipple piercing ...
So, there's a titanium ring hanging from one or both of your nipples. Is there a painful, pus-filled lump or two protruding from your breast, as well?
If not, give it seven years. That's how long it can take for women with pierced nipples to suffer the cruel consequences of messing with their breasts, according to a study out of the University of Iowa this week.
And as if you weren't ruing the day you paid someone to shove a needle into your nipple already, the researchers also note that breast abscesses "tend to recur" at rates of 40 to 50 percent. The treatment? One word: drainage.