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!
Part One of Four:
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.
- 6Don’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.
Part Two of Four:
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 are small ice 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.
Part Three of Four:
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.[
Part Four of Four:
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.