Is a Tongue Piercing Risky? All About Tongue Piercings, Aftercare, and Myths April 5, 2021 – Posted in: Piercing Advice, Piercing Types

The tongue piercing has become a sought-after style for a number of reasons.

Some people enjoy the fact that it’s more hidden—provided they learn to speak around the jewelry—which allows them to enjoy a more alternative piercing even at work.

Others love the sensuality of this piercing. They find this style incredibly sexy and love how the tongue piercing allows them to express themselves.

And then you have those who simply enjoy the look.

Whatever your reason is for getting your tongue pierced, you should be sure to conduct proper research before you make your piercing appointment. After all, your tongue is arguably one of your most important muscles, and you want to make sure that you treat it safely.

Let us be your first stop as you learn more about the tongue piercing. Here’s a beginner’s guide.

What is the tongue piercing?

Let’s start with the basics.

The tongue piercing is a piercing that goes perpendicularly through the tongue. It can be placed in limited locations along the midline of the tongue as long as your anatomy allows. 

woman with tongue piercing drinking water

Have an experienced piercer take a look to confirm that you have suitable anatomy for a tongue piercing.

Why such a small “sweet spot” for placement? If the piercing is placed too far back along the tongue, the barbell will be too long and press against the bottom teeth which can result in gum loss and bone erosion. Too close to the tip, and the barbell may rattle against the teeth, damaging them in the process.

You should always research a reputable piercer who has specific experience with tongue piercings. An improperly placed tongue piercing can result in a failed piercing, awkward speech, and even tooth damage. However, if you find a skilled piercer (preferably a member of the Association of Professional Piercers (APP)), then you aren’t likely to have problems when it comes to your tongue piercing.

Is the tongue piercing dangerous?

Urban legends abound when it comes to piercings, and the tongue piercing is an oft-targeted victim.

It’s true that there are risks associated with the tongue piercing. If pierced incorrectly, it is possible to damage a nerve or see jewelry rejection. If the jewelry is too big, you could accidentally chomp on it and chip your teeth. If you don’t take care of it properly, you could see some complications.

However, all of these risks have easy fixes. Choose a reputable piercing studio to ensure safe placement. Ask your piercer to change the jewelry if it feels as though it’s getting in your way. And, simply take care of your piercing as it heals.

If you make the right choices, then any dangers associated with tongue piercings are negligible.

How long does the tongue piercing take to heal?

Since wounds in the mouth heal faster than wounds on the skin, the tongue piercing doesn’t take too long to heal—about 4 to 8 weeks.

It’s important to note that this timeframe is a minimum, and you should always have your piercer confirm that you’re fully healed before stopping aftercare practices.

Woman Brushing Her Teeth

Take care of your piercing as you brush your teeth. A soft bristled brush is best.

To ensure that healing takes as little time as possible, there are certain things that you need to pay attention to.

  • Clean your tongue piercing 2 – 3 times daily with a piercing aftercare saline solution making sure to clean both sides.
  • Brush your teeth with a soft bristle brush 2 – 3 times daily.
  • Use a non-alcoholic mouthwash. (The alcohol will irritate the piercing and it will sting quite a bit.)
  • Try not to move your tongue too much as it heals. This could mean not talking at the beginning of the healing period.
  • Stick to soft foods as you get used to the jewelry. Stay away from acidic or spicy foods throughout healing.
  • Your tongue will likely swell for the first few days after getting pierced. Your piercer will fit you with a longer piece of jewelry to accommodate this swelling. Once swelling has gone down, consider visiting your piercer to get fit with a smaller piece. It will be easier to talk around and less of a chomping risk.

Will my tongue piercing affect my speech?

The unsatisfying answer to this is, maybe.

Your ability to speak around the jewelry will largely depend upon placement. If you get pierced closer to the tip of your tongue, you’re going to have a more difficult time learning to speak normally than you will if you get pierced appropriately.

woman covering her mouth

Most people who get their tongue pierced are able to learn how to talk around the jewelry and experience zero speech impediment.

No matter what, you’ll probably experience a bit of a learning curve when it comes to talking normally. For the first few days after the piercing, you should expect some impacted speech.

Most people are able to learn how to talk with their tongue piercing quickly. Talk to your piercer about placement and any advice that they might have about getting used to the piercing. 

Is my tongue more likely to get infected than other piercings?

A common misperception surrounding tongue piercings is that they easily get infected. The truth is that, as long as you take care of the piercing, it’s no more likely to get infected than any other piercing.

The tongue piercing looks fantastic, and it’s less of a risk than misconceptions lead you to believe. As always, be sure to fully research your piercer and adhere to proper aftercare practices, and your tongue piercing should be just fine.

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