Tongue piercing is the most common and popular form of piercing. In fact it is not a new practice. It is being practiced since ages. Tongue piercing was a common ritual among people of ancient Aztecs and Mayas of Central America. Haida, Kwakiutul, and Tlinglit tribes who belong to American Northwest also used to practice tongue piercing. In their rituals they used to pierce the tongue to draw blood to propitiate the gods.
How Tongue Piercing is Done?
Tongue piercing is not a painful task as tongue is a striated muscle, so the needle just slips in between these striations. The tongue do swells up after piercing but regains its original form after few days. Tongue is first pierced with the long barbell; after the swelling subsides it is replaced by a proper size barbell. Usually tongue has a dimple in the front region and it is considered to be the perfect place for piercing. After piercing you won’t be able to talk or eat solid food properly for some days. This sometimes may lead to short time depressions. You need to plan your tongue piercing time according to your job requirements, big weekends or vacations.
Tongue Piercing Jewelry
Barbell is the most common type of jewelry used for tongue piercing. These barbells are available in colored plastic, gold plated surgical steel and surgical steel. After the tongue is healed, the long barbell can be replaced by small balls, tongue retainers or labret studs. There is a large variety of jewelry options for tongue piercing. You can go for jewelry like large or small balls in gemstone, UV that glows in the dark, glitter, colored Acrylic, surgical steel and gold plated surgical steel. If you want to hide your tongue piercing then you can try flat top, painted in flesh colored.
Healing after Tongue Piercing
It takes around 2 weeks to heal tongue piercing. Usually it is difficult to develop any infection as saliva contains anti-bacterial enzymes. Overuse of mouthwashes with astringent may neutralize these enzymes hence turning the tongue brown or green. If it occurs it is advised to reduce the mouthwash quantity you are using. You would observe slight swelling on the day of piercing, but the worst swelling would appear between 2-6 days after piercing. During this time you would find your tongue to be very uncoordinated and may also find difficulty while talking.
Aftercare for Tongue Piercing
- For the first 3-5 days you are advised to eat soft and mashed food. Best food for you would be juices, shakes and yogurts. You can also take vitamin supplements to boost up your immune system. Baby food is the best choice during this phase.
- Once you start with solid food eating, be careful that you don’t bite the long barbell. There are chances of barbell biting which may result in chipping or splitting of your tooth. So be careful while eating solid food.
- You can try using anti-inflammatory or anti-bacterial throat lozenges after meals or several times a day. These would help in faster healing of your tongue.
- It is advisable to rinse your mouth with warm salty water after meals or many a times in a day. This would promote the healing process.
- Eat lot of cold foods like frozen yogurts, ice creams, small ice blocks or crushed ice this would help you in pain and swelling reduction.
- It is better to change from longer barbell to shorter stem after at least 10 days to avoid your tongue to swell up again.
- Use a soft tooth brush to remove plaque formed on the jewelry during the healing phase.
- Once in a week with clean hands check that the jewelry is screwed up tight.
- Every morning first drink chilled water; this would help in alleviating your swelling.
- Don’t talk much in your initial days of piercing as excess movement may cause the barbell to wound your tongue.
- During the healing phase avoid taking hot foods like soup, coffee or tea; this would increase your pain. Try and avoid spicy food as this main increase swelling.
- Avoid playing with the piercing during the initial phase of healing as this may delay the healing process and may also lead to scar formation.
- Do not replace the jewelry during the healing phase as reinsertion of the jewelry might be painful.
- Do not remove the jewelry as the hole closes quickly.
- Do not put dirty things in your mouth like pens or fingernails.
- Refrain yourself from oral sex for the initial 15 days, including kissing your partner.