Tongue Piercing FAQ


We have lots of Tongue Bars under body Jewellery in the Product Section
Tongue Piercing

Tongue piercings usually take between 10-14 days to heal, it is almost impossible to develop an infection because the mouth contains an enzyme "Ptyalin" and Lingual antimicrobial Peptide (LAP) which kills bacteria.

Overuse of mouthwash destroys these, which can cause the tongue to go green or brown; if this happens reduce the amount of mouthwash you use.

What happens during the first 10 to 14 days is that most of the swelling goes and the tongue feels normal but still remains slightly thick. This thickness subsides over 1 to 2 months.

DO use B-vitamins with a Zinc supplement as these promote healing. Piercings tend to reflect your general health if you are tired and run down healing is a lot slower

Everyone’s tongue swells; some people’s tongues swell a little some people's tongues will swell a lot.

The worst swelling will be from 2-5 days after the piercing, during which time your tongue will be very uncoordinated and you may find it very hard to talk.
The more normally you eat, drink and talk, the quicker your tongue will heal.
Ice, ice blocks, ice cream, the more ice you do over the first few days the quicker your tongue heals.

 Your salivary glands will overproduce saliva and this will cause you to constantly swallow, this may last for up to 5 days during which the salivary glands (under the chin) can become swollen.

The taste buds on the end of your tongue may become tender and you might experience a tingling or burning sensation.

You may also experience tenderness where the balls on the barbell make a depression on the palate of your mouth and on the lower inside gum of your mouth.

You may see a white fluid being excreted by the wound, don't be alarmed, it is just dead white blood cells which is a normal part of the healing process; all wounds heal by secreting plasma which forms a scab, but because of the saliva in the mouth, a scab can't form.

You may experience a white coating on your tongue; this is a normal bacteria response to your piercing; that is why antibacterial mouth wash is recommended.

After 3-5 days the swelling will start to reduce.

Between 14 to 21 days after the piercing you will have to replace the big long piercing bar with a shorter barbell.

Make sure you down size your first barbell as those long bars are hard to bite on but also bad for your teeth.

We carry a large range of plastic balls as it is better to bite on a plastic ball and crack the ball than bite on a metal on and crack your tooth.

Many people wish to get their tongues pierced but feel they are prevented by the negative reactions they may get from their employers

. Clear plastic retainers and clear balls  re available.


Wash your hands before you touch your piercing.

  • DO eat lots of cold foods i.e. ice cream, frozen yoghurt, suck on chipped or crushed ice, or very small ice blocks and drink lots of ice water this will alleviate pain and reduce swelling. Make sure you do this for at least the first 3 to 4 days
  • Frozen ice blocks in packs from the supermarket are cheap and you can suck on them all day. This helps keep the swelling down.
  • DO keep cold water in the fridge, and add lots of ice to make it really cold; drink this when you first wake up in the morning.
  • The swelling will be worse than usual because when you lie down more blood goes to your head; sip the iced water very slowly, this will help alleviate the swelling.
  • DO use Difflam-CT throat lozenges (or some other antibacterial/anti- inflammatory lozenge) until you have the smaller barbell inserted.

Lozenges perform two valuable functions, firstly, they are anti-bacterial which prevents infections; secondly, and most importantly, they are anti- inflammatory which helps relieve swelling and promotes healing. Using these will greatly reduce the period your tongue will be swollen for.
  • If sucking the lozenges is too painful there is a Difflam spray available at most Pharmacies
  • DO buy a new toothbrush because your old one will be filled with bacteria.

Three times a day dissolve a 1/4 of teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm boiled water and use this as a mouth rinse.

Best time to do this is after you eat. If you smoke, use a salt mouth wash after each smoke.
  • Morning and night use a non-alcoholic antibacterial mouthwash to control the bacteria growth. Don’t use it any more frequently than this, as your tongue can turn green with the mouthwash over use.
  • DON'T use undiluted mouthwash as this destroys the mouths natural enzymes, which promote healing, and it can cause ulceration.
  • Clean around the bottom ball with a cotton bud once a day; as there can be some stringy mucous there, which is quite normal.
  • DO wait a minimum of 14 days before attempting to change over to the shorter barbell, if you do so before that period your tongue can swell up all over again.
  • DO remove plaque, which can form on the jewellery; remove this very gently with a soft toothbrush during the healing period.
  • After the piercing is healed use an antiplaque mouthwash a couple of times a month, and remove the jewellery to clean it once a month; soaking it in denture cleaner will remove the plaque.

DO check that the jewellery is screwed on tight once a day, clean hands with a germicidal soap before handling.

The ball that screws off should be on the bottom,( with most barbells these days both top and bottom balls come off)  and it must be turned clockwise to tighten it.
  • DO be careful when you first start eating solid food; take very small bites and be careful when you chew to keep your tongue level in your mouth while eating, so the barbell is less knocked. This is less of a problem after you get the smaller barbell.
  • DON'T eat food that's hot in temperature i.e. Coffee, tea, soup, as this can be painful during the healing phase, so let them cool a little before you drink them
  • Don't eat spicy hot food i.e. Chilli, curry because this can increase the swelling during healing.
  • DON'T put anything dirty in your mouth such as fingernails, pens, etc.
  • You must refrain from oral sex for the first 10-14 days; this includes kissing, even if you are in a monogamous relationship, as other peoples body fluids carry bacteria.
  • DON'T play with the piercing or chew on it during the healing period as this can lead to excess scar tissue formation and delayed healing.
  • DON'T remove or replace the jewellery during the healing period, as the hole closes up very quickly (10minutes and the piercing can close) and it's painful to reinsert the jewellery once this happens.
  • Even after the piercing is healed it will close up within a day if you remove the jewellery. Often it only takes 10 minutes and you cant get your jewellery back in.
  • Avoid alcohol for at least the first 48 hours, as it will sting the piercing.
  • Short barbells and plastic balls reduce the risk of damaging teeth. Bioflex plastic barbells are ready available and a very good option for your mouth and teeth

for a dentist/medical opinion

  • Be fussy with your jewellery choices, a lot of cheaper body jewellery has lots of nickel and lead it which can leach into your body causing nasty reactions that are often mistaken for infections
  • If you are worried or need reassurance go and see your piercer rather than asking your friends
Removing piercings for Surgery, scans/x-rays 

You are often requested to do this and depending on the age of your piercing this can lead to the piercing closing up.
Use bioflex or PTFE with plastic balls, they not only keep your piercing open but the are safe to scan etc.

If you are having an operation under general anaesthetic you will need to take your tongue piercing out, the best you can do is leave it in until the last possible moment and get someone to put it in as soon as you come back to the ward.  

 My tongue piercings been normal and all of a sudden its all swollen?????

This can happen occasionally, your piercing may have been normal for a couple of years and suddenly becomes swollen.

There are two most likely causes for this
  • there is some food inside your piercing, Take your bar out and give your piercing a good squeeze. Reinsert a bar make sure the bar is long enough so there is no tightness on your piercing. Do some salt rinses and antibacterial mouth washes for three to 5 days afterwards.
  • I have seen jewellery flaking apart in piercings check your jewellery to make sure this is not the case.
Your tongue should feel better within a few hours it might take a few days to be normal again.
If your tongue becomes more swollen or is not improving seek medical advice.
  •  Have you changed your tongue bar in the last 2 days? then you have either grazed the inside of your piercing or your tongue is reacting to the metal from the new tongue bar
Change the tongue bar back to one you know is good quality, make sure the tongue bar isn't tight . Do some salt rinses and antibacterial mouth washes for three to 5 days afterwards.