How to Care for an Oral Piercing

Tongue, and other oral piercings are growing more and more popular... But they can also cause serious complications if they aren't kept properly cleaned and allowed to fully heal. In this wikiHow, we explore how to give good after-care to these kinds of piercings.


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    Go to a reliable and certified piercing studio. It might seem like a good idea to pierce yourself, but if you pierce your tongue in the wrong place it can lead to tongue (and skin) deformities. Needles and jewelry needs to be sterilized correctly before it goes anywhere near your mouth!
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    Though they will tell you how to care for your piercings, it is important to remember that piercings can often develop infections, and lead to serious problems, so be diligent!
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    After getting it pierced your tongue will swell up to about twice its normal size. Don't worry, this is normal. Swelling will start reducing in three or five days and go away completely in seven to eight.
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    The tongue is going to be fully healed after about six to eight weeks. Rinse your tongue and mouth regularly with salt water to prevent infection. During this time do not play with or touch your tongue, and always rinse your tongue if this happens accidentally or after eating food.
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    You should try to eat mashed food, soups etc. for the first 3 to 5 days, After this eating solid foods should be no problem, but be sure to rinse after eating anything.
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    After the swelling goes down you can cut back on the mouth rinsing, although due to the fact that food may become lodged within the piercing rinsing after eating food that may get lodged (breads, stringy meats, etc) is a good idea. Once it is fully healed normal oral care (brushing teeth and mouthwash) is sufficient.
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    There will be a crust, or hard spot around the hole where you've been pierced, but this should disappear in two to three months.
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    Make sure that every piece of jewelry is clean before you put it in your piercing. If it is still within the first 6 months, sterilization of the jewelry is a good idea.


  • Because it is hard and inadvisable to eat normally after getting a piercing, try drinking dietary supplement drinks (Slim-fast, Ensure, etc.) as they contain a lot of protein, etc. Remember you still have to eat your soups and mashed foods with this!
  • The piercer will often pierce the tongue with a longer bar of jewelry than is required to allow for some swelling. After your swelling has gone down you may want to get a shorter bar. Shorter bars and plastic balls are safer for your teeth.
  • Eating cold foods, such as ice cream, cold drinks, etc. may help reduce swelling.
  • Buy a small bottle of Chloraseptic or similar numbing sore throat sprays. Remove about 3/4 of the liquid and fill completely with mouth wash. If you're out and cannot rinse with mouth wash, spray this on the top and bottom of the piercing, it also has the side effect of numbing the new piercing which you'll come to appreciate.
  • Carry a small bottle of salty water with you in a pocket or purse so that you can rinse your mouth promptly, if you need to while you're out and about.
  • Try not to bite on the piercing whilst eating.
  • Try to avoid hot (warm is ok) foods while your piercing is healing because it can cause extra swelling.
  • Smoking is potentially harmful to your new oral piercing, especially during the initial healing phase. Refrain from smoking during the entire healing process.


  • It's VERY important to make sure your piercing doesn't come into contact with the bodily fluids of others while it's healing- be careful to refrain from oral sex or open mouth kissing that could spread dangerous germs.
  • Never clean piercings with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide as it is very dangerous to do so!
  • Be careful when choosing a mouthwash to use, antiseptic mouthwashes that do not contain alcohol are the best, if you cannot find an alcohol free antiseptic mouthwash, dilute your mouthwash with water. Mouthwash containing alcohol won't kill you though it just may make the healing process a little longer. Alcohol mouthwash kills more germs though.
  • Do not eat popcorn for several weeks after getting the piercing (while it normally takes but a few days to heal enough to eat solids without problem popcorn must be avoided for much longer). Popcorn contains small hard pieces of the kernel shell, these may become lodged around the bar inside of the piercing and are very difficult to remove.
  • A tongue piercing, unlike other piercings, is through striated muscle. This has a higher ability to completely heal. Due to this even after a couple years, removing the piercing for an extended amount of time may result in your piercing healing closed. After 3 or more years this typically is not the case and you may leave it out for long periods of times without worry.
  • Don't drink soda when you first get an oral piercing! The fizziness may be irritating.

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Categories: Tattoos and Piercing