Tongue piercings, also known as tongue rings, are non-gender specific piercings that add a unique element to one’s personal style. They are aesthetically pleasing and greatly enhance pleasure. Here are things to keep in mind if you’re considering getting a tongue piercing.
Choosing your studio
This is one of the most critical decisions to make when getting any piercing. Make sure it’s a well-established studio with great reviews online ranging from professionalism to the sterility and cleanliness of the place. You will likely be required to sign a consent form, look it over carefully before signing.
Types of tongue piercings
There are two main types of tongue piercings, midline, and side tongue piercing. The midline which is the traditional piercing is located at the centre of the tongue while the side is usually located towards the left or right of the centre. Most people prefer the midline, but it can be difficult to get it because it depends on the veins in your tongue. The midline is almost wholly impossible for people with short tongues.
There is also the option of getting the piercing at the tip of your tongue. The one at the tip is more sensitive because of the distribution of the nerve endings present. A tip piercing can irritate the teeth, makes speaking clearly difficult, and takes more time to get accustomed to. The traditional tongue piercing keeps the jewellery away from the teeth and safely away from nerves and arteries usually found near the tip.
Know your pain level
A tongue piercing is one of the least painful piercings. Pain can be subjective but overall, it is one of the less painful ones. Generally, the longer your tongue, the lesser the pain although individuals have different pain thresholds, and you should know yours going in. The experience and skill level of the piercer also factors in the level of pain experienced. Drinking cold water right after the piercing can help soothe the pain and swelling.
For most people, the jewellery is an artistic personal statement, and it takes a while to select something that resonates with them. The tongue piercing is usually done using a straight barbell made of titanium or surgical steel. Titanium is a safer option because of the decreased likelihood of allergies and reactions with the skin for many people.
During the first few days in order to minimize pain and swelling, try not to talk as much or play with your new adornment. For about 4 to 6 weeks during which time you should be protecting your tongue piercing from any foreign substances, no oral sex, and no French kissing. If you must kiss, keep your lips closed and rinse your mouth afterwards to cleanse it of any lingering bacteria.
Suck on ice chips or small ice cubes to reduce the pain and swelling. You can make cubes out of frozen chamomile tea for extra soothing.
Get a new toothbrush and keep it stored in a clean area.
Sea salt rinse
Conduct a sea salt rinse 2-3 times daily. Take advantage of salt’s healing properties by mixing one cup of purified water with ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized salt and swishing it in your mouth for a few minutes. Make sure the liquid fully cleanses the tongue piercing jewellery.
Eat soft food
Your tongue will be quite sore, it helps to eat soft foods and blended foods that don’t require chewing. Chewing may be a risky undertaking before you get used to your tongue piercing. Fasting and liquid diets are not a requirement, but people find that doing them during the first few days is helpful. When you eat solid food, help your tongue do less work by eating slowly with small bites that you place directly to the back of your mouth.
Keep a toothbrush and salt mouthwash at hand
After every meal, you need to cleanse the piercing of any lingering food debris. For this reason, it’s important to always have with you a toothbrush, toothpaste and salt mouthwash at hand while your tongue piercing is healing. Be careful not to brush the piercing itself, instead, clean it using the sterile mouthwash.
Avoid alcohol or cigarettes
It’s important to avoid irritants as your tongue piercing heals, that means no chilli, alcohol, and cigarettes. If you must drink, avoid hard liquor, and instead go for beer and wine. If you must smoke, rinse your mouth after every smoke break and keep an eye out for any adverse effects.
Risks of tongue piercings
Infection, pain and swelling
Your mouth is breeding ground for huge amounts of bacteria, for this reason, an infection can quickly become life-threatening if not treated promptly. A tongue piercing can also cause your tongue to swell, potentially blocking your airway. The swelling will also affect your speech. You should expect some problems with your speech clarity in the beginning as you get used to the piercing and jewellery.
A tongue piercing can increase saliva production leading to drooling.
One of the most common side effects of tongue piercing barbells is that they can bump and scratch against the teeth causing them to chip or crack. The constant teeth scratching can scratch and erode tooth enamel leading to sensitive teeth. There’s also the risk of accidentally biting down on the jewellery causing teeth to crack. Make sure you take out your piercing when exercising or playing a sport.
Rubbing your tongue ring against your gums can irritate the gums leading them to recede. If this goes on long enough, your teeth may loosen and even fall out.
A tongue piercing is a great place for plaque to hide and grow and if you are not vigilant with brushing and swishing saltwater mouthwash, you risk developing bad breath.
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