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Infected Tongue Piercings: Symptoms & Treatment

Tongue perforation infections may not be the first thing you think of when deciding to have your tongue pierced, but they do pose a real risk. The thing to remember about infected tongue piercings is that they are almost completely preventable if you follow good aftercare and oral hygiene routines.

The good news is that once the piercing has healed completely, you usually don’t have to worry about infections. So you just have to get through these first few months to avoid the more serious complications of the infection.

What is a tongue perforation infection?

Basically, a puncture infection of the tongue is an accumulation of harmful bacteria that have entered the puncture wound. These bacteria cause your body to react with a variety of symptoms, many of which are unpleasant.

Sometimes a puncture infection of the tongue can be difficult to spot. This is because it is normal for the tongue to swell and stay swollen for a week or more after being pierced.

Infected Tongue Piercings
Infected Tongue Piercings

However, although swelling around a new tongue piercing is completely common, the swelling can also be one of the main indicators of infection, so you may not realize you have an infection at all. right now.

Other symptoms of infection can also be part of the tongue piercing process, such as pain that lasts for up to a month. A piercing traumatizes the surrounding tissue, therefore, it will be a little inflamed at first, just like an infection.

However, just because a normally healing tongue piercing shares many visual similarities with an infected tongue piercing does not mean that infection is not a big problem. Infections can spread beyond the piercing site, and those that enter the bloodstream can lead to other health problems.

What are the causes of tongue piercing infections?

As mentioned, bacteria that enter the piercing are the cause of tongue infections. However, there is still bacteria in your mouth. The normal bacteria that inhabit a healthy mouth do not cause infections.

Certain circumstances, unfortunately, can make the piercing susceptible to harmful bacteria that cause infections.

There are several reasons why harmful bacteria can take root in your tongue piercing:

Poor oral hygiene

Good dental health is important whether or not you have oral piercings. Still, it’s even more important when you have a tongue piercing, especially one that is healing.

Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwashes remove excess bacteria. Another part of preventing excess bacteria and inflammation in the mouth is avoiding overly sweet foods and drinks.

Poor health in general

You might not realize it, but the health of your mouth is linked to the health of all the systems in your body. If you don’t take care of yourself, your dental health will show it. So you need to make sure you’re eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep.

A healthy body is better able to prevent and fight infections, including puncture infections of the tongue.

Unsanitary drilling conditions

Sometimes bacteria get into a piercing at the body piercing studio. This is becoming less and less common as the studios that get the best deals continue to learn the best practices for sterilizing equipment and preventing infections.

Believe me, a reputable piercer doesn’t want you to end up with an infection. To make sure you are working with professionals, get referrals for the piercing studio you plan to go to.

A more popular studio means they’ve had more satisfied customers. Another sign of a reputable piercer is that they are discussing the proper aftercare with you.

A reputable and experienced piercer may charge a slightly higher price for the tongue piercing, but it will definitely be worth it in the long run.

Playing with your tongue jewelry

You shouldn’t have your hands in your mouth anyway, but be aware that your hands are constantly picking up bacteria from the surfaces you touch.

Therefore, if you use unwashed hands to play with your tongue jewelry, you are depositing this bacteria directly on your piercing and setting yourself up for a potential infection.

A sore tongue

The tongue can become irritated for a variety of reasons.

If your tongue is already irritated by something, it isn’t as well equipped to deal with bacteria and prevent infection.

Some things that can irritate your tongue include consuming hot drinks while the piercing is still healing, using a mouthwash with alcohol while the piercing is still healing, and play with your tongue jewelry.

Engage in oral sex before the piercing heals

Our body, like our mouth, is host to many bacteria. Most of the time, they are harmless, but when you have a new tongue piercing, which is usually normal, harmless bacteria can cause an infected wound.

Oral sex can introduce additional bacteria into the mouth and potentially lead to an infected tongue piercing. Don’t worry, you can start donating again after the piercing has completely healed in a month or two.

Signs and symptoms of infection

Since any piercing is bound to be a little sensitive at first, you may not be sure if your tongue piercing is infected. Here are the most common signs of infection.

Yes, your tongue is going to be swollen. It’s normal. It’s even normal to have difficulty eating and speaking, but if your tongue is so swollen that you have particular trouble eating or speaking, it could be an infection.

Your tongue should NOT be so swollen that you have difficulty breathing. If so, seek medical attention immediately.

It’s also important to pay attention to how long your tongue is swollen.

Anything beyond the first 7-10 days is cause for concern. Swelling for more than 10 days doesn’t necessarily mean you have an infection, but if your tongue is still swollen at this time, look for other signs of infection. You may also find other hard bumps around the piercing that could be caused by infection or other conditions.

Redness and tenderness

Again, the site of your tongue piercing is going to be a little red, tender, and sore, and that’s completely normal. It is inflammation at work. Inflammation is one way your body handles healing.

The point is, inflammation can be your body facing a piercing trauma and healing, or your body trying to fight infection.

Therefore, watch out for redness and pain that lasts longer than a week, and if you see red streaks coming out of the piercing and along your tongue, see a doctor immediately as this is a sign that not only you have an infection; the infection spreads.

If your piercing remains healthy, the tenderness should gradually go away by the time your tongue piercing heals.

Bleeding or discharge after the normal healing period

Your tongue may bleed a little or leak fluids as it heals. This is not a reason to be alarmed.

Yellow or green pus, however, is not a good sign at any time, and if you experience bleeding from your tongue piercing after the normal healing period, an infection is likely present.


Definitely go to a doctor for antibiotic treatment if your tongue changes color. It is a sign of a serious and advanced infection.

How to treat an infected tongue piercing

If you catch an infection in the early stages, you can try to treat it at home. Just keep an eye on your symptoms to make sure they don’t get worse.

One of the best things you can do is keep your mouth clean to try and reduce the level of bacteria in your piercing. Rinse your mouth with salt water after each meal.

If the swelling or pain is uncomfortable, you can suck on a small piece of ice. This will help reduce inflammation.

Never remove your tongue jewelry when you suspect an infection. Keeping the jewelry in place actually allows the infection to discharge, which is necessary to kill bacteria.

If you remove the jewelry, your piercing will quickly grow back and likely seal the bacteria, spreading the infection. Tongue piercings can tighten much faster than other piercings.

For severe or persistent infections, you should see a doctor for antibiotic treatment. This will prevent more serious complications.

What happens after a puncture infection of the tongue?

If treated and healed, your tongue piercing should return to normal after clearing an infection. It is important that you continue to follow good oral hygiene well after infection and healing of the piercing. You can get an infection or other infection even years after piercing your tongue.

Any minor injury to your tongue piercing can allow bacteria to enter, regardless of the size of the wound. This is more likely if your piercing has suffered trauma or if you have a habit of playing and tugging on jewelry.

How to prevent tongue piercing infections in the future

If you have not yet pierced your tongue or have recovered from a puncture tongue infection, the good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent puncture infections of the tongue. ‘to come up. Follow these tips to reduce your risk of infection.

  • Use a reputable piercer and make sure he uses sterilized equipment
  • Only use steel, titanium, or gold jewelry while your piercing is healing; acrylic contains more bacteria
  • Follow your piercer aftercare instructions, including keeping your hands away from jewelry and keeping your mouth clean
  • Avoid hot drinks, alcohol, and all foods that can irritate the piercing until it is healed
  • Rinse your mouth after each meal, either with saline solution (salt water) or with at least plain water

The best aftercare product that I have personally used is the After Inked Piercing Treatment Spray. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also completely alcohol-free and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types, including sensitive skin, and it comes in a large spray bottle for easy application. When used early in the healing process, the spray helps reduce healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or pain.


Tongue perforation infections are not fun to deal with. Do yourself a favor and keep your mouth clean for the best chance of preventing any problems from developing. Also, be on the lookout for the most common signs of infection as the piercing heals.

If you end up with an infected tongue piercing, keep the jewelry in and rinse it with a salt water solution, and be sure to see a doctor if the infection gets worse.

By follow with the above tips, you can hopefully avoid any potential tongue puncture infection and have a beautiful mouthpiece for years to come.

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