What are the Risks of Getting Your Tongue Pierced?

Not everyone can get tongue piercing as the procedure can be risky and tricky. However, still, most people can get their tongue pierced. Tongue piercing has become very popular in recent years.

A survey has found that 16% of the women and 4% of the men at a New York University had oral piercings. The practice of getting your tongue pierced doesn’t appear to be risky than getting an ear, nipple and navel piercing.


Do not attempt to pierce your own tongue, get it done from a professionally licensed piercer. (1) It’s not risky to get your tongue pierced, but you should be aware of what all things might go wrong.

The most common problems that arise due to oral piercing include excessive bleeding, injuries to the mouth and teeth, infection at the site of piercing.

Some severe effects of tongue piercing involve swelling, scarring, nerve damage, and even gum diseases. (2)

Risks of getting your tongue pierced

Getting tongue piercing is a way to express your style, but it can be risky too. Your mouth is loaded with bacteria that can lead to infection and swelling.

Due to these piercings, the bacteria can reach your bloodstream and may cause damage to your vital systems of the body. (3) Here are some risk factors involved with the piercing of the tongue –

  • The risk of excessive bleeding and blood loss.
  • Piercing of tongue can cause swelling of your tongue which can be suffocating. (4)
  • The jewelry on your tongue can break off and may choke you, especially while sleeping.
  • That piece of jewelry can also chip your teeth during eating or speaking.
  • It may damage your tongue, gums, or restorative fillings.
  • Cause difficulty in speech, chew or swallow.
  • It may lead to an allergic reaction due to the presence of the metal in the jewelry.
  • It can cause Difficulty while taking X-ray of your teeth.
  • The tongue can lead to serious health problems like periodontitis, infection, excessive bleeding, and even hepatitis. (5)

When to see a doctor?

Swelling and bleeding are very common after oral piercing but watch out for infections on the piercing as infections can cause severe effects on your piercing as well as your overall body.

Consult your doctor immediately if you notice any of the signs of infection which are given below –

  • Nonstop bleeding.
  • A bad smell coming from your mouth.
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Rash or blisters on the tongue.
  • Dark brown or yellow pus with an odor.
  • Speech impairment.

Tongue piercing aftercare

Once you are done with the tongue piercing, you’ll have to make sure your piercing heals quickly and doesn’t get infected.

Healing requires at least 2 to 4 weeks, and during that time it’s essential to take care of your oral cavity and keep your mouth clean. Here are various steps you can follow to heal your tongue fast and achieve good oral hygiene:

  • Regular cleaning of your piercing twice a day.
  • Rinse your mouth gently with warm water or a non-alcoholic mouthwash.
  • Suck on clean ice cubes and drink lots of cold water to get rid of the swelling.
  • Avoid hot drinks such as tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
  • Do not eat too much spicy, salty, and acidic food such as lemons, pickles, peppers or curry.
  • Eat foods that will soothe your oral cavity like Smoothies, ice creams, and non-acidic fruits.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption.
  • Abstain yourself from kissing for a minimum of three weeks after getting your tongue pierced.
  • Avoid tobacco or use of any other tobacco product.
  • Do not touch your piercing without washing your hands.

Who can’t get their tongue pierced?

  • People with very short tongue.
  • People with dense webbing stretching far up to the tongue. Any cutting or injury in the webbing can cause extreme swelling and bleeding or even suffocation.
  • People with a vein directly down the center of their tongue, these people can get piercing but slightly away from the site of the vein.
  • People with certain health conditions like diabetes or AIDs.


A tongue piercing is a small hole in your tongue so you can wear jewelry through it. It’s a sign of style for people, but it can be risky.

Your mouth is loaded with microorganisms, and due to piercing, many bacteria get access inside the tissues of the oral cavity or even bloodstream.

The bacteria present in your mouth if interacts with the injured tissue present at the site of piercing then the chances of infection increases.

Usually, bleeding and swelling are commonly observed at the site of piercing, but serious health issues like gum diseases or hepatitis may also occur.


Tongue piercing is not that risky, but you should be aware of the things that can go wrong so you can take certain steps to prevent any serious damage.

Properly cleaning your mouth after piercing is essential to prevent severe infections. If you suspect any signs of infection or any other health problem, consult a doctor immediately.


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