People with tongue piercings may find themselves in need of cosmetic dentistry further down the line.

Recent research conducted by the University of Buffalo has revealed that prolonged wearing of the piercings can result in a gap forming between the front teeth.

This is the result of a familiar habit people develop of playing with the piercing with pushes it up between the teeth.

Sawsan Tabbaa, assistant professor of orthodontics at the university's School of Dental Medicine, commented: "The barbell is never removed because the tongue is so vascular that leaving the stud out can result in healing of the opening in the tongue.

"So it makes perfect sense that constant pushing of the stud against the teeth - every day with no break - will move them or drive them apart."

However, there are other risks involved with the jewellery. Chipped and fractured teeth, infections and in the worst cases even brain abscesses, can all result from the body modification.

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