Tongue Piercing: Most Frequently Asked Questions (With One Line Answers)

Remember when Cardi B got her lips pierced, but then she opened her mouth to say Okkurr and we saw her tongue piercing? If you’re wondering which one she got first, the lip piercing would take the lead.

Here are the most frequently asked questions: 

What is a tongue piercing?

A tongue piercing is an oral piercing directly down the center of the tongue. Once used for pious significances it kept declining in popularity but has there has been recent upsurge making it now the second most popular piercing amongst young women aged 18-25 in 2019.

What to eat after tongue piercing?

Because of swelling, eating may be uncomfortable for the first couple of days. Do not eat solid, tough, crunchy, or hot (spicy or in temperature) foods because it can further irritate the area. It is best to stick with foods that are softer and do not involve much chewing. Chilled smoothies are always a good idea.

What does a tongue piercing mean?

Did you know that in Maya and Aztec cultures, getting a tongue piercing was a way to honor the Gods and by inflicting pain, showing ones honor.

Once a holy religious practice, today its visage lies in artistic or decorative practice. The average age of most people getting their tongues pierced in North America is between the ages of 17 to 25; although people of any age can and go pierce their tongues simply because they want to show another decorative and personalized way of expressing themselves.

What to clean tongue piercing with?

Clean least 4-6 times each day, rinse with listerine antiseptic or sea salt solution for 30-60 seconds. Listerine should be diluted 50:50 using distilled water. A sea salt rinse is 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt dissolved into 8 oz of warm water. Continue to rinse for 6-8 weeks. Gently brush your tongue in the morning and at night after brushing your teeth.

What is the pain level of a tongue piercing?

Compared to many cartilage piercings, tongue piercing pain isn’t very bad. On a scale of one to ten, it should rank at about a 3. But then again, it varies depending on all individuals. 

Industrial piercing: 4 out of 10

Septum piercing pain: 2 out of 10

Nose piercing pain: 3-4 out of 10

Vertical labret pain: 4 out of 10

medusa piercing pain:  4 out of 10 

Daith piercings pain: 5-6 out of 10.

Rook piercing pain:  6 out of 10

Many people say while the tongue piercing is quick, the healing is long. Many confuse the pain of tongue piercings with the accidental bite of your tongue. An accidental bite is far more painful than piercing in one singular area with a needle – kind of like a flu shot.

Plus, if you’ve ever gotten anesthetic injections into your gums for dental work, you may find that getting your tongue pierced is actually less painful than that. The tongue has more flexibility than your gums. Gums are quite tough. Many say the sensation of getting the tongue pierced is like a large pinch, followed by a burning feeling. 

What is a tongue ring used for? What’s the purpose of tongue piercing?

Tongue rings enhance the pleasure of oral sex, for both men and women. The barbell of the ring can be used to tease, stimulate and pleasure. 

How much is a tongue piercing?

Both the piercing and the jewelry can be between $30 to $90. As some piercers charge separately for the piercing procedure and the tongue jewelry it’s ideal to call ahead to inquire about the price.

How bad does a tongue piercing hurt? 

Since you’re shoving a large, 14 gauge needle into your tongue, we assume you actually know the answer is yes. 

How to clean a tongue piercing

Sea salt rinses are a mild antiseptic to use on the day you get your tongue pierced. 
Be sure to warm one cup of distilled warm water and mix it with ¼ tsp of sea salt. Kosher salt can also be used, as long as you make sure it dissolves fully. Then rinse your mouth with an alcohol-free antiseptic mouthwash as alcohol will irritate and cause more pain to the new piercing. If only a mouthwash with alcohol is available, dilute it with a bit of water to reduce irritation from the alcohol.

How to take care of a tongue piercing?

After you’ve left the piercer, you need to take care of the tongue piercing. During that time, you should:

  • Rinse your tongue or lip piercing diligently after each meal and before bed. Use warm salt water or an antibacterial, alcohol-free mouthwash.
  • Not kiss anyone while you heal (avoid contact with someone else’s saliva)
  • Not share cups, plates, forks, knives, or spoons.
  • Eat small bites of healthy food.
  • Not eat spicy, salty, or acidic foods and drinks. 
  • Not have hot drinks, like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. 
  • DON’T PLAY WITH YOUR PIERCING WHILE IT IS HEALING: This includes clicking it against your teeth, rolling it along your lips, etc. 
  • Simply open your mouth to show off your jewelry, rather than sticking your tongue out, until you get used to your new jewelry. If you develop a white ring of tissue or white discharge around the bottom of your piercing, don’t panic. This is normal. 

While it heals, you should be able to remove the jewelry for short periods of time without the hole closing. If you get a tongue piercing, the piercer will start with a larger “barbell” to give your tongue room to heal as it swells. After the swelling goes down, dentists recommend that you replace the large barbell with a smaller one that’s less likely to bother your teeth.

After your tongue has healed, take the jewelry out every night and brush it like you brush your teeth. You might want to take it out before you go to sleep or do anything active. Remember to check the balls to make sure they are not coming loose. Once the swelling has decreased (usually 2-3 weeks) you may downsize the length of the stud.

What are the risks of tongue piercing or why is a tongue piercing dangerous?

Risks of tongue piercings can be divided into: Infection, Tooth Chipping and Migration.

Infection: The risk of infection is drastically smaller than the stereotype says. Tongue piercing infection is 99% caused by people kissing or being orally intimate with people before the piercing is healed.

Tooth Chipping: It is highly recommended that when choosing your jewelry you start out with a longer barbell.  This makes it easier to turn your piercing regularly to prevent it from growing onto the barbell. It is also sometimes a worry for people that a tongue piercing can cause dental issues and teeth chipping and wear.  While this can be a concern the probability is very small, less than 3.5%. As long as you have a professional who is knowledgeable about where to place the barbell and you are carefully when eating, especially when your tongue is swollen, the chances of chipping a tooth are small.  It is also recommended that you use an acrylic tipped barbell if this is a concern for you.

Migration: Sometimes tongue piercings migrate or move around. 

How to make a fake tongue piercing?

You can get various types of fake tongue piercings such as different colored barbell studs, or gold and silver rings in some accessory shops. Other varieties include glow in the dark, magnetic or stick on. 

  • If it is the stick-on type, take the sticker out and place it carefully between the tip and the middle of the tongue.
  • For a magnetic type, carefully place the upper part of the piercing on the desired location and the magnet in the back of your tongue so that it is held together.
  • Don’t eat anything with the piercing
  • Don’t sleep with it on, as that can also lead to similar accidents.
  • Try not to wear it while swimming and bathing as that could be risky too.

Can tongue piercings migrate?


How do you take out a new tongue piercing?

You can follow these steps to take out a tongue piercing, however a new tongue piercing should NEVER be taken out as it will increase the risk of infection. The following is only for healed tongue piercings. 

  • Wash your hands with antibacterial soap, rinse thoroughly and dry them using a clean towel.
  • “Swish” a capful of Listerine within your mouth for about two minutes, then spit it out to kill bacteria that could lead to infection.
  • Pour a small portion of hydrogen peroxide into a cup and place the new tongue ring in the hydrogen peroxide liquid to soak for a few minutes. 
  • Stick your tongue out as far as possible and simultaneously grasp the top and bottom beads of the barbell carefully. When it comes to removal of the tongue ring, twist the top bead counter-clockwise while twisting the bottom bead clockwise.
  • Pull the tongue ring out of your tongue and place the pieces you took out inside the cup of hydrogen peroxide to soak.
  • Get the new tongue ring from the hydrogen peroxide and place on a paper towel to dry. Once its nice and dry, unscrew one of the balls from the end of the tongue ring.
  • Stick your tongue out while looking in the mirror. Identify your piercing hole and insert the tongue ring through the top of the tongue.
  • Secure the tongue ring by screwing on the ball to the stainless-steel post. The bottom ball must be twisted counter-clockwise when securing it.
  • Remove the old tongue ring from the hydrogen peroxide and dry it well using a paper towel. 
  • Swirl another capful of Listerine mouthwash around in your mouth for about two minutes, and spit it out to kill any bacteria at the site of the tongue piercing.

How to heal a tongue piercing fast?

The best part is that the human tongue is one of the fastest healing parts of the body and you should be basically healed in anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks, but it can take up to six months for the pierced area to completely heal all the way through.

  • It is a given that there will be swelling of the tongue after the piercing. One way to limit the amount of swelling is to take an ibuprofen dose before the piercing.  
  • After the piercing, sucking on ice chips is a good way to help with the swelling also.  You want the coldness of the ice but you do not want to turn to ice cream for coldness because the dairy in ice cream can cause bacteria to form.  
  • You will want to avoid dairy.  
  • You simply want to follow directions given to you by the shop who has done the piercing in order to avoid complications.  

How to care for a tongue piercing?

  1. Use painkillers, alternating between ibuprofen and paracetamol. After the first 24 hours gradually reduce the number of doses you use.
  2. Eat non spicy food for a day or two. Hot and cold foods will make your mouth hurt more.
  3. Use a salt water or antiseptic mouthwash morning and evening for at least five days. Let the mouthwash surround your tongue for at least 30 seconds.
  4. If you have any signs of an infection such as pus coming from the hole or a raised temperature you should go to your doctor. They might not be delighted about the piercing, but they will prescribe you antibiotics if you need them.

How fast do tongue piercings close?

It takes 2 to 6 weeks for the initial tongue piercing healing but the total healing takes about 7 months.  If you take out the jewelry before your tongue piercing is fully healed, the hole will close up within a few hours.

How soon can you change a tongue piercing?

Once all the swelling is gone and you are fully healed (about four weeks), you can change your jewelry to something that fits more snugly to your tongue. A smaller barbell usually makes it easier to talk, easier to hide, and makes it less likely that you will damage your gums or teeth.

Why can’t you smoke with a tongue piercing?

Don’t smoke for at least two weeks before you have your tongue pierced. This is strongly recommended by the NHS prior to anyone having teeth out and is just as valid if you are having your tongue pierced, because smoking is harms the circulation and the immune system.

Who can get a tongue piercing? And why can’t I get a tongue piercing?

  • People with a very short tongue can’t . This means you are unable to stick out your tongue or stick it out very far.
  • People with a lot of webbing that stretches far up the tongue can’t. Tongue webbing should NEVER be cut as cutting it can cause extreme swelling, suffocation, and bleeding. It is not legal for anyone but a medical surgeon in a hospital to cut a tongue to increase its length.
  • People born with a vein in the wrong place can’t. Some people have a vein directly on the center of their tongue. Even so, if the piercer can put it at a slight slant or offset it to get the piercing done where it doesn’t touch your artery. This can result in venoms (a piercing on either side) if your veins are running down the sides of the tongue. 
  • People who suffer from certain health conditions cant. People who suffer from any form of paralysis, nerve issues, or other health conditions like say they are dependant on blood thinners, you should alert your piercer.

What are some tongue piercing jewelry or tongue piercing types? 

Midline: The midline tongue piercing is the most common type during which the jewelry goes straight through the middle of your tongue (about 1.9cm from the tip of the tongue). This type of piercing uses a straight barbell.

Frenulum: This is often called an under-tongue piercing or web piercing. Located underneath the tongue on the frenulum, this is a fold of mucous membrane that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. A curved barbell or a circular barbell is used.

Horizontal: This piercing goes straight across your tongue making the balls of the barbell stick out on either side. They are extremely dangerous. A tip-of-tongue piercing is a type of horizontal piercing. 

Side: Similar to the midline piercing, it is placed slightly to the left or right side of the tongue instead of in the middle.

Why does my tongue piercing hurt? Why is my tongue piercing bleeding? Why is my tongue piercing sore?

They can be either signs of healing but if it persists, please read about the tongue piercing infection symptoms. 

Why wont my tongue piercing unscrew?

It may be because your looking at a mirror or trying to do it yourself. As you’re using a mirror, you must be turning it the wrong way. Be very careful because you may chip your tooth or cause an infection. 

Use latex gloves as they provide a grip it to unscrew it. You could also dry your mouth with a towel. Also try some small pliers (clean them before you stick them in your mouth). If both of them fail, go see your piercer they will unscrew it for you.

If done properly and cared for accordingly, piercing your tongue ring is really something that can give you a wonderful way of expressing yourself. The excellent healing abilities of your tongue can help make it something that is much easier to “grow out of” should you decide you no longer want your tongue pierced, so go for it!

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