Tongue Piercing Aftermath

I just received a brief message about tongue piercing:

A few days ago I got my tongue pierced and I am still very swollen. What can I do for that?

Thank you, Liz

Hi Liz,

It is normal to still have quite a bit of swelling at this point.

Here are some of the suggestions from my book to help you deal with the aftermath of a fresh tongue piercing:

Tongue Piercing: Healing and Troubleshooting

Sipping cold water from a clean cup immediately after receiving an oral piercing can help minimize initial swelling, and it feels soothing, too.

During the first week, significant swelling, light bleeding, bruising, and tenderness are normal. After that, the swelling should diminish, but some often remains for several weeks. Don’t panic if you see a whitish discharge coming from your tongue. All healing piercings secrete fluids; however, inside the wet environment of the mouth, the substance doesn’t dry to form the crust you see in other areas.

Don’t worry: you can eat with a new tongue piercing, but it isn’t easy at first. You have the initial swelling to contend with, plus you have unfamiliar jewelry right in the middle of your mouth. Fasting or liquid diets are not required, though some piercees prefer to eat only soft or blended foods for the first few days.

Piercings heal better if your body is well nourished, so eat whatever feels comfortable, and in a few days you should feel back to normal. Follow these tips for a safe, comfortable healing course:

•     Eat slowly and take small bites.
•     Focus on keeping your tongue level. The jewelry can get between your teeth when it turns.
•     Avoid foods like mashed potatoes or oatmeal; they may be soft, but they are hard to eat because they to stick to your mouth and jewelry.
•     Smoothies, shakes, energy drinks, ice cream, soups, and the like are good menu mainstays.
•     Use clean fingers or utensils to place small bites of solid food between your molars. The tongue moves food to the back of the mouth, so food that is already there requires less manipulation.
•     Cold and frozen foods are soothing and help to minimize swelling.
•     Chewing gum or sucking on candy may be injurious during healing.
•     Salty, spicy, acidic, or hot foods and beverages may be irritating.
•     A certain amount of speaking is unavoidable, but when your piercing is fresh, try to let your tongue rest as much as possible.
•     Do not play with your tongue or jewelry! 

I suggest you follow the aftercare guidelines for oral piercings from the Association of Professional Piercers. You can find them here.

I hope you find this helpful. Heal well and enjoy,


For tongue or lip piercing, choose an antibacterial mouthwash that does not contain alcohol and rinse your mouth every time you eat. If you notice bad breathe and an off-coloured tongue the mouth wash may have killed the mouth's own bacteria. If this happens switch to salt water rinses instead of mouthwash.

I had my tongue pierced 4 days ago , and I've been eating just soft stuff. Like Mac & cheese , mashed potatoes , and that's about it. I read online food can get stuck in the hole. Is that true? Or can I go ahead & start eating regular foods in small bites like pulled pork & stuff? & it also said no caffeinated drinks? Is that true? Please respond as soon as possible. 

Hey Elayne,

     I'm not sure if this is the best place to post questions, however, here I am. I am super interested and curious about getting a tongue piercing, but am also nervous. I've been researching online about the risks associated to this piercing, but everything I can find seems... somewhat unreliable and a little hyped - what are the actual risks of getting one's tongue pierced? Also, how much pain do the piercees typically feel during the actual piercing and during the healing? Obviously it's different for different people, but I'm just wondering what's ... expectable.


thanks so much both for your time with respect to this comment and for all the work you do in this field. 

- Emma

I did my tongue on saturday and the tip is feeling really funny and it's really the top of my tongue is white don't matter if I brush it.. Also infront of the ring there is loose piece of flesh which looks slpit..