Piercing your tongue can run some health risks but when provided with good aftercare the problems should be able to be kept minimal. The worry is the bacteria trapped in your mouth that can cause infection at the piercing site. Caring for a newly pierced tongue should involve cleaning the jewelry while avoiding any risky behaviors that may cause infections.
After a Tongue Piercing:
Most commercial and homemade cleaning solutions applied during and after the piercing will help keep the site adequately cleaned. The Association of Professional Piercers (AAP) suggests using antimicrobial mouth rinses after each meal while the site is healing. However, these washes and rinses should not be used more than about four or five times per day. The mouth should be rinsed for 30 to 60 seconds with the solution before the solution is spat out. A ¼ cup of iodine-free salt mixed with 8 ounces of warm water can make a great secondary rinse. The salt solution should be used for 10-15 seconds for several rinses in a row twice per day.
Using a new toothbrush soon as the piercing is done can help avoid old bacteria getting into the piercing site. A soft-bristled brush on the smaller side such as Colgate Slim Soft ® is a great selection of a toothbrush to use in these cases. Use a gentle brushing pattern to avoid harming the piercing site while its healing.
When eating be sure to avoid letting food contact the site where the piercing occurred. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and eat finger foods for a few days where you can place the food directly on the molars to help ensure you are keeping the bacteria and food particles that can get into the piercing site to a minimum. Please always do wash your hands again before putting them in your mouth to avoid making yourself sick!
Normal Healing: A normal piercing will see pain lasting up to a month as the tissue around the piercing site heals according to the University of Wisconsin (Whitewater). The AAP states that swelling can last 3 to 5 days, and things like sucking on ice chips or small ice cubes may help relieve some swelling while keeping you hydrated if drinking regular water is relatively painful for a few days. Plaque can collect on the jewelry itself as well but if the top of your tongue turns a yellowish color that’s a sign of overcleaning.
Signs of Infections:
Nonetheless, the American Dental Association (ADA) has warned of some potentially serious side-effects have had a tongue piercing that can get infected including that the tongue swelling, if severe enough, may inhibit breathing for some people. Signs of infection include fever, chills, shaking, and red-streaked appearance around the piercing site are all signs that there may be infections in your new piercing. Usually piercing will take 4 to 6 weeks to heal completely.
A few temporary lifestyle changes can also help you avoid some serious complications after having tour tongue pierced. This includes avoiding oral sex while your piercing site is healing. Do not have things like chewing like chewing gums or mints while the tongue is healing is also advisable. This goes for hard candies as well. Other nonfood items like cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or smoking pipes should be avoided as well. This will help avoid further chances of infections. Avoid hot, spicy foods as the seasoning may burn the tissue around where the tongue is healing. Playing with and messing with the jewelry or twisting it around will not help either as it can cause irritation at the piercing site.
Ensuring that you provide your mouth with proper oral care after a piercing helps ensure that you are not going to experience any unnecessary complications after having a piercing done.