Aftercare Guidelines for Oral Piercings – Part 1

 In Piercing

Follow these instructions carefully

Oral piercings (tongue, lip or cheek) are very cool, but they require special attention and dedicated care while healing, mostly due to their location inside the mouth. These are the recommended oral piercing aftercare guidelines given by the APP, which we also endorse and will explain in a two-part article. If you have any questions or doubts, don’t hesitate to ask our professional piercers.

Cleaning Solutions

Use one or both of the following solutions for inside the mouth:

  • Antimicrobial or antibacterial alcohol-free mouth rinse.
  • Packaged sterile saline solution with no additives (read the label) and non-iodized sea salt mixture: dissolve 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of iodine-free sea salt into one cup (8 oz) of warm distilled or bottled water. A stronger mixture is not better, as a strong saline solution can irritate your piercing.

Cleaning Instructions for INSIDE the Mouth

Rinse with cleaning solution for 30 seconds after meals and at bedtime (4 to 5 times daily), during the entire healing period. Cleaning too often or with too strong a rinse can cause discoloration and irritation of your mouth and piercing.

Cleaning instructions for the EXTERIOR of cheek and lip piercings

  • WASH your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning or touching your piercing for any reason.
  • Soak in saline solution and/or wash in mild, fragrance-free liquid soap (preferably anti-microbial or germicidal) at least 2 to 3 times daily. Simply soak directly in a cup of warm saline solution for 5 to 10 minutes. Depending on the placement, it may be easier to use a clean gauze saturated with saline solution. A brief rinse afterward will remove any residue.
  • Apply soap no more than once or twice a day. While showering, lather up a pearl size drop of soap to clean the jewelry and the piercing. Leave the cleanser on the piercing no more than 30 seconds. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of soap, it is not necessary to rotate the jewelry through the piercing.
  • Dry by gently patting with clean, disposable paper products. Cloth towels can harbor bacteria and snag on jewelry, causing injury.

To help reduce swelling

Allow small pieces of ice to dissolve in the mouth. Take an over the counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium according to package instructions. Don’t speak or move your jewelry more than necessary, and sleep with your head elevated above your heart during the first few nights.

Custom piercings

Maintain good oral hygiene

Use a new soft-bristled toothbrush and store it in a clean area away from other toothbrushes. Brush your teeth and use your chosen rinse (saline or mouthwash) after every meal. During healing, floss daily and gently brush your teeth, tongue, and jewelry. Once healed, brush the jewelry more thoroughly to avoid plaque buildup.

Staying Healthy

The healthier your lifestyle, the easier it will be for your piercing to heal. Get enough sleep and eat a nutritious diet. Avoid emotional stress, which can increase healing times by up to 40%. To help healing and increase your ability to fight infection, take nutritional supplements daily, including iron, B vitamins, 1,000 – 5,000 mg of vitamin C and 30 mg of zinc for women and 50 mg for men.


These guidelines are based on a combination of vast professional experience, common sense, research and extensive clinical practice. This is not to be considered a substitute for medical advice from a doctor. If you suspect an infection, seek medical attention. Be aware that many doctors have not received specific training regarding piercing. Your piercer may be able to refer you to a piercing-friendly medical professional.

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