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Tongue Piercings

Tongue Piercing

Here is all the information you need to know so you are well-informed and feel confident when you finally pierce your tongue.


Tongue Piercing Risks & Safety Measures

Before getting a tongue, it is important that you understand the risks associated with piercing and the safety measures you can take to avoid them. A professional piercer will be able to discuss risks and safety with you, but it is a good idea to be informed before you venture into a body piercing shop.


A properly performed oral piercing will take only seconds to complete, with minimal discomfort and bleeding. In fact, often there is no bleeding at all, but keep in mind that everyone will have a different experience depending on the type of piercing they choose, and their personal reaction to being pierced. Common oral piercing concerns are:


1 - The safety of the procedure itself

2 - Possible damage to teeth, dental work and oral structures

3 - Risk of infection


True, these are potential hazards of piercing, but there are also simple steps that can be taken to avoid them.


Choosing the Right Body Jewelry

A typical tongue piercing is done with a 14 gauge high quality 316L surgical steel barbell measuring 5/8-inch.


There is a risk of damage to teeth and/or dental work with tongue and other oral piercings, but these risks can be significantly reduced by choosing the right tongue piercing jewelry. Consult with your piercer to choose body jewelry that is appropriately sized, is of the right material, and is well made. Your piercer can help you make the right choice, but it’s important that you be informed as well. Certain styles of piercing jewelry is appropriate for certain types of piercings, so don’t try to use a lip ring for as a tongue ring


Longer barbells allow for swelling, and should be used for new piercings and kept in until the piercing is healed, but after the healing process they should be replaced with shorter barbells to avoid damage to teeth and dental work or structures. It may also be advisable to wear a smaller ball on the underside of your tongue, as this will also reduce the risk.

Check the quality of the body jewelry material to be sure the metal is crafted from surgical grade stainless steel, titanium or 14K gold. Acrylics and non-metal materials like Bioplast are a safe choice for tongue rings that can further reduce the risk of damage. And remember, the cause of such damage is often the result of constant “playing” with the piercing, so use caution.


Steel Tongue Ring Titanium Barbell Gold Tongue Ring Bioplast Barbell
Surgical Grade Stainless Steel Titanium 14K Gold Bioplast



Oral Piercings - The Correct Placement

Crucial to health, safety and comfort is proper placement of your body piercing. Discuss this with your piercer before the procedure. A properly positioned tongue piercing will be on the midline of your tongue (right in the middle), and placed approximately 3/4-inch back from the tip, and will likely be pierced on a diagonal with the top leaning back slightly, allowing the top ball to lean away from your teeth. This will also be a more comfortable position as the top of your piercing will be positioned in the higher part of the roof of your mouth where there is more room.The bottom of the tongue piercing should be just in front of the web-like skin under your tongue (known as the lingual frenulum).


Oral Piercing Aftercare




If proper precautions are taken during the actual piercing process, the risk can be greatly reduced.  That means using sterile instrument, disposable, one-time use needles, and high quality, sterile jewelry. What is most important to the overall success of your piercing is your commitment to proper hygiene and care during and after the healing process. Your piercer should give you verbal and written instructions, and should explain to you the importance of cleansing, and the different cleanser options available.  Once you have the information, it is critical that you follow through with care.


Basic Hygiene

Avoid sharing drinks and utensils

Always wash your hands before touching your piercing or the surrounding areas

Get a new tooth brush and be diligent about keeping it clean while healing

Don’t put things in your mouth like pens and other things that carry bacteria

Avoid oral sexual activity during healing


Avoiding and Treating Swelling

Ice is the perfect way to avoid swelling.  Suck on ice chips or hold an ice pack to the pierced area for a few minutes, several times a day.

Keeping your head elevated at night can reduce swelling of your body piercing.  Prop your head up with a few pillows while sleeping.

Anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen (Advil) can be purchase over the counter and can reduce and/or prevent swelling.

When properly performed and properly cared for, most body piercings will typically heal fast with minimal discomfort, swelling and bleeding. 

People are often concerned about infection, particularly with oral piercings because they believe the mouth to be dirty given that so many germs and bacteria can pass through the mouth through everyday activities like eating, drinking, talking and even breathing.  While this is true, our saliva actually contains naturally occurring antimicrobials that get rid of the potentially harmful toxins that may enter.


Your Piercing is Healed. Now What?
You followed all the advice and you’re completely healed. Now for the fun part - shopping for jewelry to adorn your awesome piercing!

Remember when we talked about body jewelry sizes? It’s still important. You want to look for 14G tongue barbells with a wearable length of 1/4-inch. Most tongue are made from either a 316L surgical steel, titanium, gold, or bioplast (acrylic) barbell with some sort of adornment, whether it be UV acrylic, steel, silicone, or gem-adorned balls.

Vibrating Tongue Ring

Vibrating tongue rings are special because they are not meant to be worn all the time. They should be saved for more intimate occasions; then removed and cleaned immediately afterward.