Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tongue Piercing Aftercare - Tips & Tricks


By Raven Gypsy
Your tongue is newly pierced and swollen and painful.  Now what?  Well, I have a few tips and tricks.  This is not meant to be a thorough guide to aftercare; your piercer will give you that.  But here are a few facts and helpful solutions that they may or may not tell you about.

1. Cold is your friend, hot is not.

     Cold foods are a good choice.  Even better is cold food that melts.  For example, you could eat a frozen waffle, still frozen.  It's cold and cold is nice, but you still have to chew it and get it to the back of your mouth to swallow.  Conversely, you will be more sensitive to hot than normal.  It is easier to burn yourself and the last thing you need is something else causing you pain and swelling and discomfort.  So make sure you let your food cool to almost room temperature.  Take it from a mom, eating room temperature food for a week will not kill you.

2.  Meal replacement shakes.

     Meal replacement shakes are also a good choice.  Trust me, a liquid diet gets old FAST.  Meal replacement shakes will at least leave you feeling full for a while.  It also helps to maintain your protein intake because, lets face it, most of us get our protein from meat.  Meat will not be high on your easy to eat list for at least a couple of days.  If you've never tried these shakes before, I found that the Special K dark chocolate ones were really, really yummy.  So are the Carnation Breakfast shakes.  They were akin to drinking melted chocolate ice cream.

3.  Pasta and Eggs

     While it might be a good idea to avoid tomato sauce while your tongue piercing is healing (acids are irritating), cold pasta salad can be made in a variety of flavors.  They are yummy, easy to chew, and slide down your throat, minimizing the amount of work for your tongue.  Eggs, especially, sunny side up or hard boiled are also a good slippery food choice.

4.  Foods that might seem like a good idea, but aren't.

     When your tongue piercing is fresh, you are looking for foods that do not require a lot of chewing but you also want foods that do not stick.  Mashed potatos, peanut butter, cookie dough, thick melted cheese, caramel, chocolate candies and perogies are all out.

5.  Food in a Tube

     No, I'm not talking about freeze dried astronaut food!  Our modern grocery stores carry really interesting snack options these days, like Go Yurt (yogurt in a tube), Fruit Chillers (fruit sorbet in a tube), Applesauce in a tube and good old fashion freeze pops.  All three of these choices (some healthier than others) can be frozen.  They become a nice frozen treat that is yummy, easy to eat and soothing to your swollen tongue piercing.  But you can also leave the tube in tact and they become an ice pack in the perfect size and shape for your mouth.

6.  Salt Water Rinse

     Any good piercer will tell you to do salt water rinses.  But it bears repeating.  The salt water will help to prevent any infection.  They may also tell you to rinse with mouth wash.  You want a non-alcoholic mouth wash.  Do not over use the mouth wash.  Alternating between the two types of rinses might be a good choice.

7.  My Mouth Turned Blue!

     Or yellow.  Yup it happens.  Let's talk yellow first.  You tongue will develop a film on top that is yellowish in color.  It's ok.  It is kind of like your tongue's version of a scab.  It will cover most of your tongue and will probably appear within 2-3 days of getting your tongue pierced.  Within 7-10 days, it will probably be mostly gone.  Do not try to brush or scrape it off!  It will go away on its own.

     Blue moon, oh, er, tongue.  That happens when the coloring in your mouth wash (which you might be using too much of - check with your piercer), dyes the yellow film that covers your healing tongue.  As long as your piercer confirms that you are using the right type and quantity of mouth wash, then don't worry about it.  The blue, or green, or purple - depending on the color of your mouth wash- will fade as the tongue piercing heals and the film disappears.

8.  Herbal Remedies

     Remember that your tongue piercing is a puncture wound!  Treatment of puncture wounds are generally very different than the treatment of other cuts and scrapes.  Things like hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, and lavender oil are commonly recommended for the external, let me repeat, external treatment of cuts, not puncture wounds, and especially not puncture wounds to muscles and/or mucous membranes.  On the whole, advil, ice, good hygiene and some time will be all you need. 

9.  Size Matters

     When your tongue is pierced, your piercer will use a longer bar to accomodate the swelling in your tongue.  Generally you will be instructed to return after 2-3 weeks and have a smaller bar put in.  However, some people are, as my piercer calls them, puffy.  If your tongue tries to heal over top of the ball at either end of your bar, your bar is too short.  You will need to go back and have a longer bar put in.

10.  Swish

     While your tongue is still swollen and your piercing is still healing, swish.  Eat a meal with a glass of water at hand.  Rather than struggling to clear the food particles from your mouth, swish your mouth with water and swallow.  It's just easier that way.