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Many facial piercings are more contemporary in nature, and the tongue piercing fall into this category as well. You don’t see this piercing in tribal cultures, you see it being worn by middle-class American college students, rock musicians and porn stars. For some people this is an easy piercing and for others it can be difficult. It takes a bit of forethought to have a comfortable tongue piercing.


Tongues are primarily pierced down the center, somewhere in mid-tongue, with a barbell being the primary style of jewelry worn in this piercing. What you wind up with is a small ball on the top and bottom of the tongue with the bar connecting them vertically through the middle of the tissue. Tongues are muscular and a lot of people say that biting your tongue accidentally with your teeth is more painful than piercing with a needle.

One very important factor to consider when getting your tongue pierced is the alignment of the jewelry and your teeth. The piercing should be set back far enough on the tongue to not be in constant contact with the backs of the teeth. Friction of the steel jewelry over time has been known to wear off enamel, and tongue piercees who like to “picket fence” their jewelry along the insides of their teeth will soon get reports of chipping and major damage from their dentists. Plastic balls on the ends of the barbells can greatly reduce chipping. Too far forward and your speech will be affected, the jewelry colliding with the teeth as the tongue makes certain vocal shapes in the front of the mouth.


One of the biggest factors for success is oral hygiene and healing routine. Your mouth has to be as healthy as it can and you have to be ready to take care of the piercing rather strictly for four to six weeks. The first week you have to be prepared to have your speech affected and to have eating border on hellish. Tongues swell up after piercing and you have to be ready to deal with this.

Healing is best if you plan for a starter piece of jewelry that is at least 1/4” longer than your tongue is thick. Talk with your body piercer about this. You will want to wear this barbell for the first two weeks or so until the swelling goes down in your tongue, then switch to a size that is more appropriate for not interfering with talking and eating over the long term. You will need to gargle several times a day in order to cleanse the piercing and your piercer will recommend which oral hygiene products to use. Sucking on ice is a basic way to help with swelling, but watch out as the barbell will get colder than the rest of the inside of your mouth.

A lot of people think the idea of having a tongue piercing is cool. Then you have to get over the realization that you are going to let someone push a very sharp needle right through your tongue. That part goes really quickly if you decide to do it. Then you get to go home with a very big tongue and figure out how to go back to regular life. Here are a few tips that might make things easier or head off a few awkward situations.

Aftercare tongue barbell

Chances are you are armed with some Gly-Oxide and some flavor of antiseptic gargle and not much more. Well, really that�s all you need. The trick as with all piercings is to heal a deep tissue wound. Actually, tongues are fairly straight forward once the swelling goes down. Brushing your teeth at first might be painful as opening the jaw can stretch the swollen tissues. Go slowly. Be diligent in following your care routine as infected tongues are most unpleasant. One note, infected tongues smell badly so that, along with swelling or tenderness that increase, are the signs that might indicate a problem. Remember piercing is quite bruising and it may seem to get worse for the first two to three days. You will also be increasingly hungry and eating can be a bit uncomfortable on its own.

Eating Post-Piercing

What to eat after getting your tongue pierced is an art unto itself. Sucking ice will help with the swelling, but runs very short on flavor and nutrition. You will not want to chew much as your swollen tongue will be very prone to you biting it accidentally (remember itÕs suddenly bigger than usual) as well as trying to avoid pressure on the new piercing itself. Clear broth and soups are good starters, and a few folks swear by baby food. Avoid very hot food, whether it is in temperature or spiciness. The jewelry will conduct both hot and cold sensation into the tongue and you can burn yourself if the jewelry gets too hot. Until the piercing heals, very spicy food will also burn the inner tongue tissue. Once the swelling goes down, and if you switch to a shorter barbell, you will find you should have little to no effect on eating now that your tongue is pierced. Random stories circulate of various one-off mishaps and many of these can be avoided with a bit of thought. There have been reports of people hooking fork tines onto the ball at the ends of their piercing while eating. Eating more slowly and being mindful of Òfork depthÓ into the mouth will lessen the chances of this. There have also been a few reports of individuals who had a food item snap on the barbell end just as they were swallowing, with minor choking the result. The biggest culprit for this is pizza cheese, as it is very stretchy. Again, a bit of mindfulness can make this a very rare occurrence with thorough chewing of smaller bites being an easy fix.

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