Tongue Piercing Healing Stages & Aftercare Guide

Tongue piercings are one of those piercings that really make a statement, but only if you care for them properly. The healing stages of the tongue piercing are extremely important and you should take care of your new piercing as best as you can throughout this initial phase.

You want an awesome tongue piercing, right? Next, you need to know the healing steps and aftercare routines offered in this guide. The only way to keep your new piercing looking its best is to keep it healthy.

Tongue Piercing Healing Stages
Tongue Piercing Healing Stages & Aftercare Guide 1

The day of your tongue piercing

On the very first day, you may not notice much swelling yet, but you still need to be careful with the piercing. Taking great care and being as gentle as possible with your new piercing from day one will prevent unnecessary pain and swelling in the tongue on the following days.

The most important thing is to keep your tongue piercing clean. You can start using sea salt rinses the day you pierce your tongue. They are mild antiseptics. Make sure to use hot water to dissolve the salt.

Using a salt wash instead of another more expensive product also helps reduce the overall cost of a tongue piercing.

The first day is the one to learn how to prepare your mouthwash with salt water. Heat just a cup of distilled water and mix it with ¼ teaspoon of sea salt. Kosher salt can also be used, as long as you make sure it dissolves completely.

If you can’t use salt water for some reason, rinsing with plain water also helps keep the piercing clean and is especially useful right after you eat. Sticking to water for drinking is also a good idea to help keep the piercing flushed and prevent bacteria buildup.

You should also rinse your mouth with an alcohol-free antiseptic mouthwash. So if you don’t have a mouthwash like this, today is the day to go get some. Why is it important that it be alcohol-free? Quite simply because the alcohol will irritate the new piercing and cause more pain.

It is normal to eat and drink on the first day of getting a new tongue piercing. Just keep in mind that you need to be gentle to avoid excessive swelling or infections. Stick to cold or warm liquids and soft, easy-to-chew foods.

What to do during the rest of the follow-up phase

Once you get it right on day one, it’s more or less the same. Your tongue will be swollen for about 5-10 days, so take it easy with what you eat. As the swelling goes down, you can gradually add foods that require more chewing.

In the meantime, don’t eat or drink anything that’s too hot. Your tongue is already going to be a bit sore and you don’t want it to be burnt and swollen. Plus, eating cold foods or drinking ice water can help reduce swelling.

You should also avoid foods that are irritating to the sores, which is an exact match for your new piercing. This includes acidic foods like oranges and lemons, alcohol, and spicy foods. After each time you eat, use an antiseptic mouthwash (or water) to rinse your mouth.

Brushing your teeth is another part of keeping your mouth clean and preventing infections or complications. This prevents food particles from entering your mouth and piercing your tongue. Brush gently and avoid knocking the jewelry. You shouldn’t brush your tongue until after the first week.

You don’t want to accidentally swallow a piece at night, and a new tongue piercing can close very quickly if the jewelry pops out.

When it’s time to tighten jewelry, you need to clean it as well. You can do this by brushing it gently with your toothbrush. If the piercing is still too soft, use a little water and hand soap to clean the jewelry and rinse thoroughly. Always wash your hands before cleaning or tightening your tongue jewelry.

What not to do while your tongue piercing is healing

No one likes a long list of DON’Ts. But if you avoid a few activities during the healing process, your tongue piercing will heal much easier and faster.

Don’t play with jewelry

Keep your hands out of your mouth. These hands pick up bacteria everywhere you go. Touching, playing with, or over-adjusting your tongue jewelry creates opportunities for additional bacteria to build up and pose an infection threat.

And it’s not just your hands, either. Don’t chew anything (like fingernails, pencils, or even eraser) or bite jewelry or run it along your teeth. It’s bad for your tongue piercing and your teeth.

Do not give oral sex or do not

I know, it’s a bummer. But as long as you have a healing sore in your mouth, you don’t want to put other people’s body fluids or skin microorganisms in it.

Most of the time, the saliva from your partner’s kiss isn’t a big deal. You could catch a cold from them. However, sharing right now carries a risk of forming a puncture infection of the tongue, and you absolutely don’t want to.

You can go back to oral sex and all the other fun stuff once your piercing is completely healed.

No smoking

The smoke from cigarettes or marijuana will irritate your new tongue piercing. If you smoke, you will need to wean yourself off before you get your tongue pierced, and don’t do it again until it’s completely healed at around 2 months.

When can I stop cleaning my tongue piercing?

After 6 to 8 weeks, most tongue piercings will be completely healed. However, that doesn’t mean you can stop cleaning your tongue piercing. You should always make sure to keep your mouth and jewelry as clean as possible.

A tongue piercing infection can develop at any time, even if you have had your piercing for years. This is because tiny sores can grow and let bacteria in if your piercing is pulled or injured.

On the other hand, once the healing process is complete and your tongue piercing is no longer an open wound, you can reduce the amount of cleaning by brushing and flossing, and using ” mouthwash about once a day.

You won’t need to use a salt water rinse anymore at this point, but it’s still a good idea to rinse your mouth out with water after eating. If any sign of irritation develops or your piercing is injured, you can use salt water to clean it and prevent infection.

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.

Replacing your tongue piercing jewelry

Once the initial swelling has fully reduced, in about 7-10 days, you can return to your piercer and have the long curved bar replaced with a shorter one.

You no longer need the longer piece of jewelry once the swelling is gone and your tongue has returned to its normal size.

In fact, leaving it in may increase the risk of you accidentally biting the jewelry or tapping it against your teeth, so you should go back to your piercer to change it.


Swelling of the tongue and difficulty speaking are normal parts of the healing process. However, you don’t want to prolong these symptoms or make them worse. So follow the follow-up recommended by your piercer.

After 2 months of careful care, you will have a piercing that will look great for many years to come. At this point you can start eating and drinking whatever you want.

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