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How Long Does It Take for a Tongue Piercing to Heal?
A simple tongue piercing performed at the midpoint of the tongue will take 1.5 to 2 months to heal completely. Of course, the pain of the piercing and the initial swelling will go away before this period.
However, since the wound is technically through a muscle (the tongue is a type of muscle), this requires a little more time before it closes completely. In the meantime, those who have had their piercing should comply strictly with aftercare protocols and their physicians’ advice.
Note that the aftercare required weekly will likely change depending on the tongue’s condition and how well (or not) your body responds to the presence of a metal in your tongue. There are several factors at play here, including your immune system and your ability to heal and recover from a small wound.
READ MORE: Should I Make My First Tongue Piercing? Am I Ready?
Aftercare for a Fresh Piercing
Day 1 to Day 4: This is the most critical period after a tongue piercing. The wound is open and still fresh, and some of the worst swellings occur during the first four days. Still, if you do it correctly, you should not be able to have any problems drinking water or eating. Your diet must be adjusted.
Consume only the softest food that only has to pass through quickly through the mouth. Think Greek yogurt or applesauce. That’s how soft your meal items should be.
Noodles with some soup are fine, too, as long as you’re careful. Food particles can get stuck in the fresh hole in your tongue, which can lead to swelling and infection.
During this crucial period, we advise against practicing oral sex (for both men and women). Deep kissing and French kissing is a big no-no as well. You have to hold off these activities until your tongue is a bit more healed.
Do tongue piercings make your breath smell?
They would if the wound gets infected at any point. Bleed-outs and pus can also cause undesirable odors in the mouth.
Day 5 to Day 6: The initial swelling associated with a fresh piercing should begin to go away on day five. You may be encouraged to add some more variety because the pain has gone away. However, the risk of infection remains high. We recommend stick to a soft diet for now.
Salt rinses are highly recommended as this can stave off any impending infections. The mouth is full of bacteria, and the wound at this point is not yet fully healed.
Day 7 to Day 9: Any pain that you have been experiencing should disappear on the seventh day. Any previous swelling observed should also begin to subside. Your tongue will begin to look normal again.
After a week of holding off other kinds of food, you may gently experiment with harder food items. However, take your time while eating and observe how your tongue reacts to the new food.
Day 10 to Day 41: The tenth day is usually the time that people think that the wound has completely healed. The pain and swelling have probably disappeared, but inside the wound, it’s a different story. Likely, the wound is still as fresh as before, but it has begun to heal, which would explain why there isn’t much pain anymore.
You can consume any food you like at this point. However, you need to take care when using intense spices. The last thing that we want is to irritate the wound. Continue with rinsing warm water and salt. Rinse with salt after brushing your teeth. The goal is to keep the mouth as clean as possible, still.
Day 42 to Day 56: This is the final lap of the recovery for a tongue piercing. Maintain a high level of oral hygiene.
One thing you will realize at this point is that your tongue will have a few new preferences. Some food items and beverages will irritate it more than others. It’s a good idea to visit your professional piercer again to ask if you’re good to go, and the piercing is finally healed.
If your piercer says that the wound has completely healed, oral sex and all kinds of kissing are allowed again. The same applies to all kinds of food that were not allowed during the healing period.
Do’s and Don’ts After Getting a Tongue Piercing
• Tongue piercing cleaning is easy – brush your teeth at least twice per day. The more times you brush, the better.
• Floss your teeth on most days, or daily (which is better).
• Use a toothbrush that is marked “soft.” Medium and hard bristles are a no-no.
• Use only alcohol-free mouth rinses (preferably with salt). Alcohol will irritate the piercing.
• Observe your tongue daily for signs of possible problems.
• Don’t touch your piercing or immediately change or remove the tongue bar to avoid tongue piercing swelling.
• Don’t use any implement to scrape the tongue.
• Don’t have oral sex.
• Don’t do French kissing.
• Don’t play sports with impact.
• Don’t smoke.
• Don’t drink any alcoholic beverages.
What Jewelry Should Be Used For Tongue Piercing?
Tongue piercing jewelry varies from region to region. Customized ones are also available on Amazon or online creative platforms like Etsy. The basic jewelry is the tongue ring, which is small and has an ornamental top.
There is also the straight barbell for the tongue, which is longer than your average 14-gauge tongue ring. Some people like having precious stones in their mouth, so there are specially manufactured crystal barbells made of hypoallergenic materials and set with different gems.
There are titanium barbells made for tongue piercings for those who want something more durable (but pricier). Some barbells are curved, or with pointed ends, instead of the usual perfectly spherical heads and backs.
FURTHER READING: Can You Imagine How Many Types of Tongue Piercings Are There?