An alcohol-free antimicrobial or antibacterial piercing mouth wash should be used according to the package instructions. “BDAftercare Piercing Mouthwash” is an excellent example of a non-reactive mouthwash that fits the above criteria. Check with your piercing studio, they are sure to sell such products for your convenience.

In addition to the mouthwash, you can rinse twice a day with mild sea salt water. Just dissolve a pinch of non-iodized sea salt to one cup of warm water. Avoid hot water for the first few days. If you have high blood pressure or heart problems eliminate the salt and rinse with plain warm water.


Rinse 15-20ml of the Piercing Mouthwash 3 times a day for about a minute. Rinse the mouth briefly (10 seconds) with the mild sea salt mixture twice a day. Don’t overdo it, cleaning too often will start to turn the top of your tongue white to yellow in colour. To help reduce introducing bacteria in your mouth, purchasing a new soft-bristle toothbrush is recommended.

Healing times can vary from person to person. If your piercing is red and tender, you should continue to clean it regularly.


Swelling of the area is perfectly normal after a new oral piercing, and most of it should dissipate by the 5th day. Cold foods and gently sucking on ice can help with the swelling. You should expect a new piercing to bleed on and off for a few days, you may also see some bruises or discoloration form by under the surface bleeding. Similarly, some tenderness or discomfort is to be expected after a new piercing. Aching, pinching, tightness or other unpleasant sensations can be experienced on and off for the first week.

A yellowish secretion may come from the piercing sometimes. This is just blood plasma and it’s perfectly normal. It’s the stuff that creates a crust when your skin gets cut or scratched. Being inside the mouth it has no chance to dry out and form the crust, so it stays in its liquid form.

Plaque can form on tongue jewellery, especially the bottom ball. Scrub your ball with a soft-bristle brush, gently as you’re healing. A consistent and thorough oral hygiene routine will ensure your piercing won’t need to be removed for cleaning. After initial healing time is done, having your piercer replace the initial piercing stem with a shorter one would be wise. This will reduce irritation and chances of accidental biting of the piercing.

Always avoid taking out your stem. Even healed piercings can shrink and close within minutes of removing the post.


Do try and sleep with your head propped up on pillows during the first few nights of healing. Try and maintain your head above your heart level, to help reduce initial swelling.

Do take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen according to the box instructions. This will help reduce discomfort and swelling.

With clean hands, check twice a day to be sure the threaded ends are both on tight.

Do replace your toothbrush with a new soft-bristle one. Switching over to a more sensitive toothpaste for the duration of your healing period is also advisable.

Do eat slowly with small bites. Cold foods and beverages are recommended over the hot ones. Especially in the first couple of days.

Get plenty of sleep and eat a nutritious diet. The healthier your lifestyle, the quicker the healing process will be.


No French kissing or oral sex for the entire healing process. You essentially have an open wound in your mouth, try to keep other people’s bodily fluids out of it. 

Don’t chew gum, tobacco, yours (or anybody else’s) fingernails, pencils, erasers or anything else that shouldn’t be in your mouth to begin with.

Quitting smoking for the healing period is highly advisable. Smoking can increase the healing time while introducing other risks to your tender area. Avoid recreational drug use.

Avoid aspirin, large amounts of caffeine and any alcohol. They can all cause additional swelling, bleeding and further discomfort.

Don’t consume spicy, acidic, salty or hot food and beverages for the first few days.

Don’t play with the piercing in the healing period to avoid scarring, migrating or further trauma to the piercing area.


It is advisable to always carry a spare ball with you, especially if you have an acrylic ball threaded on your stem. In a dire situation, a clean eraser can be pressed down on the post as an emergency measure to keep the jewellery from coming out. Remember, it can only take a few minutes for your piercing to shrink and close after the rod has been removed.

Try to keep your tongue level in your mouth to avoid biting the jewellery as you eat. At first, you’re likely to feel uncoordinated, but you’ll get used to it. Try placing small bites with clean fingers or a fork, directly on the back molars. Doing this will avoid you using your tongue very much. Take it slow and easy.

Be cautious about opening your mouth wide, as the backing of the jewellery can get caught in your teeth.

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