Popular but still shocking, tongue piercings are surprisingly easy to heal and take care of. Tongue piercings do carry an increased risk of infection due the high levels of bacteria in the mouth, but with proper care they are a relatively safe body piercing to get. It is also important for the piercing to be placed correctly: there are a number of larger veins on the underside of the tongue and the piercing must not hit any of these veins – for obvious reasons! A good piercer will check the underside of your tongue and ensure that the piercing is correctly placed.
How To Care For New Tongue Piercings
Tongue piercings are usually performed with an extra long barbell to allow for swelling. Your tongue will return to normal size over the next couple of days. Usually you can return to your piercer one week after being pierced and have the long barbell replaced with a shorter one. You should not try to change the jewellery yourself until the piercing has healed completely, which usually takes at least one month.
While your tongue piercing is healing, you should rinse your mouth with a mouthwash specifically designed for oral piercings. I do not recommend using normal mouthwash, as it may be too harsh and impede healing. Your piercer will be able to recommend a suitable mouthwash. Rinse after brushing your teeth, eating and drinking anything other than water. Refrain from swimming, sexual contact, smoking, alcohol and eating spicy foods until the piercing is healed. You should also maintain good oral hygiene and try not to put anything else in your mouth, as this can introduce bacterial to the wound.
Your tongue piercing should feel progressively better as time passes and it heals. If it becomes or remains painful, consult your piercer. They will be able to check the piercing and make sure that it is healing well.
How To Care For Healed Tongue Piercings
Healed tongue piercings require very little care beyond basic oral hygiene. It is common for a little plaque to form on the bottom of tongue piercing bars – you should remove this regularly.
There is always a risk of tongue jewellery leading to tooth or gum erosion. This occurs when your jewellery rubs against your teeth or gums and erodes them over time. Most damage can be prevented by wearing correctly-sized tongue jewellery. The damage is irreversible and can be serious if left unchecked. I recommend checking your teeth and gums regularly for signs of erosion. If you see any changes to your teeth and gums, consult your piercer or dentist immediately.