Tongue Piercing Healing Times
Your tongue is a muscle, so its healing process can be slightly different from a skin piercing. Tongue piercings heal quite quickly compared to other body piercings. However, the healing time can vary from person to person and depends heavily on how well the tongue piercing is being cared for at the start of its life.
Tongue piercings usually take 6 to 8 weeks to heal. During this time it’s important to rinse the piercing at least twice a day with a salt water rinse, including after every meal or snack.
Factors than can affect healing times include:
How Your Tongue Piercing Heals
Your saliva is a natural antiseptic and has antibacterial properties that can help to aid the healing process of your tongue piercing. This is why tongue piercings don’t take as long to heal as you might expect them to.
It’s very typical for your tongue piercing to experience some swelling and soreness after you get it done. It may also produce white fluid, known as lymph fluid, but don’t be alarmed; this isn’t pus! This happens in the initial stages of your piercing’s healing process, so keep an eye on the fluid for any changes in its color.
Your tongue piercing may affect your ability to speak and eat certain foods, but this will all go away as your piercing heals. Putting ice on your tongue piercing and letting it melt on the piercing site can help to reduce any swelling.
Don’t Remove the Jewelry
It’s crucial to keep your tongue piercing’s jewelry in place until your tongue piercing is fully healed. The pierced hole in the tongue can recover very quickly — for some, within 24 hours. But, this doesn’t mean that the piercing has healed.
If you remove the jewelry, you may find that the hole closes before you can get it back in. This will mean another trip back to the piercer for a re-piercing. Let the body do its job of healing, and all should be well.
Aftercare Routine is Key
Tongue piercing aftercare isn’t complicated and is critical in letting the area heal. It’ll also keep your dentist happy!
- Brush regularly: Brush your teeth and tongue gently twice a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Non-alcoholic mouthwash: Use a non-alcoholic mouthwash to rinse out your mouth
- Clean: Clean your piercing daily using a pre-mixed or store-bought saline solution
The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application. When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.
- Fiddle: Avoid playing with your tongue piercing, i.e., rolling your tongue or rubbing it against your teeth, as this can irritate it and may cause infection
- Smoke: Avoid smoking for the duration of your tongue piercing’s healing process, as it can weaken the immune system and slow down healing
- Drink: Minimize your intake of alcohol and carbonated beverages while your tongue piercing is healing. Alcohol, especially, can thin the blood and, therefore, prolong the healing
- Talk too much: Avoid talking, particularly for the first week or so, and allow your tongue to rest for your piercing to heal properly
- Eat certain foods: Steer clear of spicy, sticky or acidic foods
- Kiss: Avoid oral contact with other people’s saliva for at least four weeks while your piercing is healing, as this may cause infection
- Straws: Don’t drink through straws
Signs of an Infected Tongue Piercing
An infected tongue piercing can delay the healing process and may result in you having to take out the piercing. Keep an eye out for some of these signs of an infected tongue piercing:
- Yellow or green discharge or pus
- Excessive bleeding
- Swelling that hasn’t gone down, is worsening or limits your ability to speak or swallow
- Redness or red streaks around the piercing site
- Abnormal or excessive pain
- Discoloration of your tongue
If you’re uncertain as to whether or not your tongue piercing is demonstrating any signs of infection, speak to your doctor or pay a visit to your piercer.
Once your tongue pierced has healed, it’s not over when it comes to maintaining good oral and dental hygiene and cleanliness. Make sure you keep on top of brushing your teeth and tongue, twice daily. You can stop cleaning your tongue piercing with salt-water once it’s healed.
Carefully consider any jewelry you decide to jazz up your piercing with. Ensure it’s made of titanium, steel or gold, as other metals can sometimes cause an allergic reaction or infection.
Regular Dentist Visits
Visit your dentist regularly while you have your tongue piercing. Tongue piercings can increase your risk of developing receding gums, cuts and tooth trauma. Your dentist can keep an eye on your oral and dental health to make sure your tongue piercing isn’t doing your mouth any harm.
Tongue piercings heal relatively quickly compared to other piercings. They generally take around six to eight weeks to fully heal, but this can vary from person to person and can be reduced through excellent aftercare.
Maintaining good oral and dental hygiene ensures that your tongue piercing heals properly and doesn’t develop an infection. Brush your teeth and tongue twice per day, use a non-alcoholic mouthwash, and clean your tongue piercing with salt-water.