Tongue piercing is becoming very popular nowadays, as many people try to explore new options for body art. If done in a clean environment by a professional, tongue piercing is said to be less painful than other piercings. The piercing is usually carried out in the centre of the tongue by clamping it with forceps and passing a needle from top to bottom or from bottom to the top, either straight up or at a slight angle. The small barbells with attractive beads can be very appealing. And after an appropriate amount of healing time, you can try to add other fancy jewelry to your piercing.
Tongue Piercing Healing Time
Once you have your tongue pierced, it could swell up and the swelling could last for around 2 weeks before decreasing gradually. Though it is one of the fastest piercings to heal, it could still be about 4 weeks before your tongue is completely healed. You could experience some pain, irritation and tenderness in your tongue after the piercing. Some white discharge, bleeding and bruising can also happen, which will gradually reduce within 4-5 days. Sometimes slight difficulty in speaking is noticed after tongue piercings. The best way to avoid problems is to ignore the foreign object lodged in your tongue and avoid hitting, clicking or touching it while speaking.
Take Care of Your Tongue Piercing
After tongue piercing you must want it to heal quickly because tongue affects so many aspects of your life and fancy jewelries can only be worn after the piercing has healed. So to reduce the healing time, follow the instructions below:
1. Alleviate Swelling
To reduce the swelling on your tongue, you need to drink lots of cold water throughout the day. Also put some small ice slivers in your mouth and allow them to melt. Don’t suck on them, but let them melt on their own.
2. Clean Your Piercing
You need to maintain better oral hygiene after a tongue piercing.
- Rinse your mouth 5-6 times a day, especially after meals or before bed, with an anti-bacterial mouthwash that is alcohol and fluoride free.
- Clean the piercing by dabbing it with sea salt 2-3 times a day and wash it with an anti-microbial soap.
- Always wash your hands before you touch your piercing; however, you shouldn’t touch it except for cleaning.
- After washing, pat your piercing dry with clean and disposable paper towels rather than using cloth towels.
3. Tighten Your Barbell Balls
The balls on the barbells can get loosened or unscrewed over a period of time. You should check regularly and keep them tightened all the time in order to shorten your tongue piercing healing time. Always hold the bottom ball while twisting the top ball in the clockwise direction to tighten them and loosen them by twisting in the anti-clockwise direction.
4. Change Your Jewelry
After the swelling on your tongue has reduced, visit your piercer to get your jewelry replaced with a shorter barbell. You can choose from the many designs and styles of beads that are available in the market after your pierce has healed. However, use caution if you are allergic or sensitive to certain metals or materials that form the jewelry.
5. Brush Your Teeth Properly
You need to buy a soft bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth after your piercing. It is advisable to only brush your front teeth for the first week of your healing process. From the second week onwards, you can progress gradually to brush your back teeth and your tongue. Remember to brush at least thrice a day to avoid bacterial infections and food particles from lodging in the mouth. Also, brush your jewelry to avoid plaque buildup.
6. Rinse with Mouthwashes
- You need to rinse your mouth with a medical grade mouthwash for 60 seconds after every meal for 5-6 weeks after a tongue piercing.
- Alternatively, you could also use your regular oral rinse by diluting it with half a cup of water. This could dilute the antiseptic so it would not irritate your piercing.
- Also clean your piercing, but do not overdo it, as it could delay your healing process and increase your tongue piercing healing time.
7. Gargle with Sea Salt Water
Along with an oral rinse after meals, using sea salt soaks would also help heal your tongue piercings. Add one fourth teaspoon of sea salt in one cup of water and stir it until it dissolves. Rinse your mouth with it after smoking or drinking anything (except water) for 20 seconds.
Be Cautious About Tongue Piercing Infection
Although you have known the tongue piercing healing time, some factors may prolong that time. Infection may your main concern. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of an infection. If you notice any of them, seek medical attention.
As mentioned above, your tongue can swell after a piercing and it can be normal. However, if the swelling persists or worsens over time and you find it difficult to swallow or speak, you would need to consult your doctor.
There could be a slight redness after a tongue piercing, but if it persists and is further accompanied by pain or swelling, it could be a sign of infection.
3. Red Streaks
If you notice red streaks radiating from your piercing to the sides or front of your tongue and have tenderness of the tongue or fever, it could indicate an infection and would require antibiotic treatment.
Though there could be some bleeding after a piercing, if you continue to observe bleeding after the healing process is completed, it could be a sign of infection.
5. Discoloration and Discharge
If your tongue turn to yellow, green, purple or black accompanied by some white, yellow or green pus discharge, you should take it seriously and take adequate treatment to prevent other complications.