How to Take Care of Your Tongue Piercing
If you get a tongue piercing, it is crucial that you take care of it properly. Tongue piercings can easily become infected due to improper care. Follow these few simple guidelines to clean and maintain your tongue piercing and it will heal perfectly in no time!
Getting the Piercing
Get permission.If you are under 18, make sure you get permission from a parent or guardian before you get the piercing. You need to have this approval so that you don't waste your time taking care of a piercing that you'll just have to take out regardless.
Do your research.Find a piercer with a good reputation at a reputable tattoo or piercing shop. Read customer reviews online to find out information about the piercer's reputation, and make sure the piercer has completed an apprenticeship with a reputable piercer.
Check out the shop.It is crucial for a piercing/tattoo shop to be sterile and clean. If you go to the store, and it does not appear immaculately clean, don't get a piercing there.
Make sure sterile utensils are used.When you get the piercing, make sure that the piercer opens up a package of unused, sterile needles to use for your piercing. This is crucial to prevent the spread of infection and disease.
Expect a little pain.The piercing itself will hurt minimally. The initial healing and swelling are the worst part.
Don't be surprised.For the actual piercing, the piercer will take a clamp and put it on your tongue to hold it in place. This protects you from jerking when the piercing happens.
Surviving the Initial Healing Period
Know what to expect.There will be more symptoms for the first 3-5 days immediately after getting the piercing. Expect to see swelling, light bleeding, bruising, and tenderness, especially during this initial period.
Use ice chips to help with swelling.Drink lots of ice cold water and let small ice chips melt in your mouth to help keep the swelling down. Make sure they aresmallice chips so you don't freeze your mouth.
- Don't suck on the ice chips; just let them melt in your mouth.
Avoid potentially harmful objects/activities.Avoid tobacco, alcohol, large amounts of caffeine, oral sexual contact (including french kissing), chewing gum, and playing with your jewelry during the initial week of healing.
Avoid spicy, hot, salty or acidic foods for a while.These can cause stinging and burning sensations on and near the piercing.
Expect some discharge.Even if you follow these steps and do exactly what the aftercare sheet says, there could still be a whitish goo that come out of the piercing hole. This is normal and is not an infection. Just make sure that it is not puss.
Cleaning it Properly
Rinse your mouth.After you get the piercing, use alcohol-free mouthwash 4 or 5 times daily for up to 60 seconds, including after meals and at bedtimes.
Clean the piercing.To clean the outside of the piercing, dab sea salt on the piercing 2 to 3 times daily and wash with mild anti-microbial soap up to twice a day.
Wash your hands.Always wash your hands with antibacterial soap before cleaning or touching the piercing or jewelry.Never touch the piercing except during moments of cleaning.
Dry the piercing properly.Dry the piercing after cleaning with a paper towel or napkin instead of a bath towel or cloth. Towels can contain germs and bacteria, so it is better to use a disposable paper product instead.
Wearing the Right Jewelry
Check the balls regularly.Occasionally, the balls on tongue piercing bars can become unscrewed or loose over time. It is important that you regularly check to make sure they are tight. Use one hand to hold the bottom ball in place and use the other hand to tighten the top ball.
- Note: To tighten the balls, remember twisting to the right tightens and twisting to the left loosens.
Change the jewelry after the initial swelling dissipates.Know that the original jewelry should be replaced with shorter jewelry after the swelling has reduced. See your piercer for this change, because it usually will be during the healing period.
Choose the right style for you.Once the initial healing process is over, you can pick any of the many styles of jewelry for your tongue piercing. Just keep in mind if you have metal allergies or sensitivities to certain materials.
QuestionWhy does it matter if my mouthwash is alcohol-based or alcohol-free?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAn alcohol-based mouthwash can irritate your piercing and make it more painful.Thanks!
QuestionIs it normal for the ball to make a spot in my tongue?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. During the healing and swelling it may leave a dent.Thanks!
QuestionCan I drink warm tea with sugar within the first week of getting my tongue pierced?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you will be able to eat normally after a week. It can take up to three to ten days for the swelling to go down, just make sure you're cleaning it after every meal or drink if it isn't water.Thanks!
QuestionHow long after getting a piercing can you give oral sex?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWait at least a month until swelling and pain goes away. Pressure can add to the pain if you try to perform oral sex too early. Once you switch to a shorter barbell and the pain goes away you'll be able to do whatever.Thanks!
QuestionWill my tongue swell after a piercing?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt won't swell right away, but it will most likely swell the day after. Swelling goes down in about a week or so, depending on your body's reaction to the piercing.Thanks!
QuestionWhen I eat, what should I do before, during and after eating?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBefore you eat, wash your mouth out with warm water and salt. During eating, chew slowly and pick whichever side that feels better. After eating, wash your mouth out again.Thanks!
QuestionI just got my tongue pierced yesterday. What foods can I eat today?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe best thing to eat would be soup or cup of noodles, but make sure it is just warm and not hot at all, or it may burn your tongue and cause pain. Cold things such as popsicles are good for bringing down the swelling as well. It's difficult to eat the first couple days, but pain goes down in about a week or so.Thanks!
QuestionIs it okay to play with my piercing during the initial healing period?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, it is best to leave it alone as much as possible to let it heal properly.Thanks!
QuestionCan I use regular salt instead of sea salt?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSea salt is preferred.Thanks!
QuestionWhy does it seem like my ring is sinking into my tongue?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThis is most likely because you played with the jewelry in your mouth during healing and the top hole got larger than it should be.Thanks!
- Cold drinks can help soothe and reduce swelling during the healing.
- Have bottled water with sea salt in it with you at all times if you have a busy schedule.
- Keep your head elevated while sleeping to reduce swelling throughout the night.
- Never take out the jewelry during the healing stage.
- Eat soft foods, so you don't irritate the piercing while chewing, or if you don't want the piercing to interfere with eating.
- Take Tylenol, Benadryl, or Advil to help reduce swelling and pain.
- Use Ibuprofen to help relieve the pain.
- Sleep with your head higher than the rest of your body to reduce swelling.
- Don't play with your piercing while healing because it will take longer to heal.
- Taking Midol will reduce pain and keep swelling down.
- Keep a bottle of salt water on hand. Swishing with salt water will help with any irritation you are feeling around your piercing.
- If you can eat after a few days of getting it done then do it because you'll have to get custom to it but make sure you rinse your mouth out with mouth wash or at least water until mouth wash is available.
- If swelling still occurs one month after getting pierced, see a doctor. Swelling should only last 2-6 days.
- Don't gargle with a lot of salt water. This will irritate the freshly pierced tongue, and it burns.
- Always remember to keep the piercing in for at least two weeks before changing the jewelry so that it doesn't close up. The piercing will close in under 30 minutes if you take the piercing out too soon.
Sources and Citations
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