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Tongue Piercing: A Comprehensive Guide for 2023


Tongue piercings have become a cultural phenomenon, adorning the mouths of many individuals in America. While they are popular and trendy, it's important to be aware of the potential risks associated with this type of piercing. In this blog post, we will focus on midline tongue piercings, which are vertically placed along the centerline of the tongue. Guru Tattoo & Piercing in Palm Beach, FL, aims to provide you with the necessary information to make an informed decision about tongue piercings, highlighting the risks involved and offering tips to avoid potential complications.

The Hazards of Horizontal Placements:

Before delving into the details of tongue piercings, it's crucial to address horizontal placements. Unlike vertical tongue piercings, horizontal placements are inherently unsafe and pose a greater risk to your teeth, gums, and even the muscles of your tongue, potentially impacting speech. To learn more about the dangers associated with horizontal tongue piercings, refer to our dedicated blog post on the topic.

Anatomy Matters:

Tongue piercings heavily depend on individual anatomy. Adequate space on the tongue is essential for a safe and successful piercing. Short tongues may not provide enough room for a piercing, and individuals with tongue ties or prominent webbing toward the tongue's tip may also be unsuitable candidates. In some cases, important veins run along the underside or middle of the tongue, making piercing in those areas unsafe. Understanding your unique tongue anatomy is crucial to ensure a successful tongue piercing.

Tongue Anatomy and Placement:

To better grasp the anatomy involved in tongue piercings, it's helpful to visualize the different muscles comprising the tongue. The tongue consists of various muscle groups, with a fibrous septum in the center acting as the "sweet spot" for traditional centered tongue piercings. This area is softer, more flexible, and tends to heal more easily. Proper placement takes into account the structure of your teeth and jaw to avoid any potential damage caused by incorrect alignment.

Managing Swelling:

Expect swelling for the first 3-5 days after getting a tongue piercing, accompanied by a temporary lisp. This swelling is normal and nothing to worry about. Piercers use longer bars during the initial piercing to accommodate the swelling. However, it's crucial to downsize the jewelry as soon as the swelling subsides. Leaving the initial long bar in place can lead to accidental biting, catching on teeth and gums, and unnecessary damage. Cold water, ice chips, and cold treats can help alleviate swelling.

Choosing Safe Oral Products:

Using oral products specifically designed for piercing aftercare greatly contributes to successful healing. Avoid toothpaste or mouthwash containing whitening chemicals or abrasives like charcoal, as these can irritate the healing wound. Check ingredient lists carefully, as some seemingly harmless products may still contain hidden whitening agents. Additionally, consider investing in a tongue scraper to maintain cleanliness once the piercing has healed.

Jewelry Considerations:

When selecting jewelry for your tongue piercing, it's important to prioritize functionality. Unlike other piercings, the tongue has significant movement due to its involvement in speaking, eating, and drinking. Therefore, simplicity and ease of cleaning are crucial factors to consider.

Classic metal balls remain a popular choice for tongue piercings due to their simplicity, smoothness, and ease of maintenance. These types of jewelry are straightforward to clean and offer a comfortable fit in the mouth. If you're looking to add a touch of flair, bezel-set opals can be a great option. These settings are smooth, low-profile, and offer comfort during everyday activities.

It's worth noting that prong-set, claw-set, or crown-set jewelry may not be as suitable for tongue piercings. Such settings have a higher likelihood of scratching the roof of your mouth and collecting bacteria and food particles. If you do choose more decorative settings, it's essential to be extra diligent with cleaning and care.

Plaque Buildup and Cleaning:

Tongue piercings are prone to plaque buildup, which can affect your oral health. Just like plaque on your teeth, plaque can accumulate on the jewelry as well. In fact, tongue piercings tend to experience more substantial plaque buildup, particularly around the bottom bead where food particles can easily get trapped.

Regardless of the type of jewelry you choose, it's crucial to clean it regularly. Simple jewelry designs are easier to clean thoroughly. The more complex the design, the more challenging it becomes to ensure proper hygiene.

Oral Health Risks:

All oral piercings, including tongue piercings, carry inherent risks of damaging your teeth and gums. However, tongue piercings are particularly associated with higher risks. To mitigate these risks, it's crucial to prioritize good oral hygiene, wear properly fitted jewelry made of materials like titanium, and exercise self-control to avoid excessive playing or fiddling with the jewelry.

Maintaining good oral hygiene involves regular brushing and flossing. By doing so, you can minimize the risk of dental complications. Additionally, choosing simpler jewelry that is easier to clean can contribute to maintaining oral health.

It's important to note that even with meticulous care, some factors beyond your control may still cause damage to your teeth and gums. Factors such as pronunciation of certain words, accents, language spoken, clenching or grinding of teeth, can all result in the jewelry rubbing against your teeth and gums. Understanding these risks and regularly visiting your dentist for check-ups are essential to minimize any potential damage.


Tongue piercings have a long history and continue to be a popular choice for many individuals. With their faster healing time and a variety of stylish jewelry options, it's no surprise that tongue piercings remain appealing. However, it's crucial to acknowledge the potential risks they pose to your teeth and gums.

By maintaining good oral hygiene, choosing appropriate jewelry, and exercising caution, you can significantly reduce the chances of complications. Remember to stay informed, regularly visit your dentist, and carefully consider the risks before deciding to get a tongue piercing. If you choose to proceed, happy healing! Many individuals have enjoyed their tongue piercings for years, but it's important to remain mindful of potential risks and take necessary precautions for your oral health.


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