Your tongue is a muscle, so its healing process may be slightly different from a skin piercing. Tongue piercings heal fairly quickly compared to other piercings – around six to eight weeks to heal completely. However, the healing time can vary from person to person and depends heavily on how well the tongue piercing is cared for.
Tongue piercings take approximately six to eight weeks to heal. It depends on:
How your tongue piercing heals
Your saliva is a natural antiseptic and has antibacterial properties that can aid the healing process of your tongue piercing. Because of this, tongue piercings don’t take as long to heal as you might expect.
It is very typical of your tongue piercing to experience swelling and pain after the treatment. It can also produce white fluid known as lymph fluid, but don’t be alarmed. this is not pus! This happens in the early stages of your piercing healing process. So keep an eye on the liquid to see any color changes.
Your tongue piercing can interfere with your ability to speak and eat certain foods, but all of these will go away as your piercing heals. Placing ice on your tongue piercing and letting it melt onto the piercing site can help reduce puffiness.
Do not remove the jewelry
It is important to keep the jewelry on your tongue piercing in place until your tongue piercing has completely healed. The pierced hole in the tongue can recover very quickly – for some, within 24 hours. However, this does not mean that the piercing has healed.
As you remove the jewelry, you may find that the hole closes before you can put it back in. This means one more trip back to the piercer to be pierced again. Let the body do its healing work and everything should be fine.
Routine follow-up care is key
Follow-up care for tongue piercings is not complicated and is critical to the healing of the area. It will make your dentist happy too!
- Brush regularly: Gently brush your teeth and tongue with a soft-bristled toothbrush twice a day
- Alcohol-free mouthwash: Use an alcohol-free mouthwash to rinse your mouth out
- Clean: Clean your piercing daily with a premixed or store-bought saline solution
The best aftercare product that I have personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. It is not only vegan-friendly, but also completely alcohol-free and free of additives. The solution is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin, and comes in a generous spray bottle for easy application. When the spray is used from the beginning of the healing process, it will shorten healing times and aim to relieve persistent aches or pains.
- Violin: Avoid playing with your tongue piercing, i.e. rolling your tongue or rubbing it against your teeth, as this can irritate them and cause infection
- Smoke: Avoid smoking for the duration of the healing process of your tongue piercing as it can weaken the immune system and slow healing
- Drink: Minimize your consumption of alcohol and carbonated beverages while your tongue piercing is healing. Alcohol, in particular, can thin the blood and therefore prolong healing
- Do you talk too much: Avoid conversation, especially for the first week or so, and let your tongue rest for your piercing to heal properly
- Eat certain foods: Avoid 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 can lead to infection
- Straws: Don’t drink through straws
Signs of infected tongue piercing
An infected tongue piercing can delay the healing process and result in you having to remove the piercing. Look out for some of these signs of an infected tongue piercing:
- Yellow or green discharge or pus
- Heavy bleeding
- Swelling that has not gone down, worsened, or affects 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 not sure if your tongue piercing shows signs of infection, speak to your doctor or visit your piercer.
Long term care
Once your pierced tongue has healed, it’s not over yet when it comes to maintaining good oral and dental hygiene and cleanliness. Make sure you brush your teeth and tongue twice a day. You can stop cleaning your tongue piercing with salt water once it has healed.
High quality jewelry
Carefully consider which jewelry you want to spice up your piercing with. Make sure it is made of titanium, steel, or gold as other metals can sometimes cause allergic reactions or infections.
Regular visits to the dentist
Visit your dentist regularly while you have your tongue piercing. Tongue piercings can increase your risk of gum recession, cuts, and dental trauma. Your dentist can keep an eye on your oral and dental health to make sure your tongue piercing is not harming your mouth.
Tongue piercings heal relatively quickly compared to other piercings. Complete healing usually takes about six to eight weeks. However, this can vary from person to person and can be reduced with excellent follow-up care.
Maintaining good oral and dental hygiene will ensure that your tongue piercing will heal properly and not develop an infection. Brush your teeth and tongue twice a day, use an alcohol-free mouthwash, and clean your tongue piercing with salt water.