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Piercing has become very popular among today’s youth. There are many types of piercings, ranging from conventional ones, like ear piercing and even nose piercing, to eccentric piercings like nipples and genitals. Tongue piercing may seem very masochistic, but a surprisingly large number of people has them.

If it is done by a professional and if the instructions regarding the aftercare, a tongue piercing is relatively safe from complications. However, tongue piercing infections do occur, probably because the mouth is full of bacteria that can multiply and thrive in the pierced area, and it is important to recognize their signs.

Symptoms of tongue piercing infection

Many people mistake swelling of the tongue, immediately after the procedure, for a sign of infection. Given the nature of piercing procedure, swelling is completely normal. However, it should subside in a few days and if it does not, it may be a sign that something is wrong. Aside from the swelling, an infected tongue piercing also causes pain and redness in the area. Severe infection is also characterized by a discharge that can be yellow or greenish, possibly with traces of blood. An infected tongue piercing is painful and it makes it difficult to talk, eat and drink.

Treatment for infected tongue piercing

In case any of the symptoms described above appear, it is recommended to immediately see a doctor. Still, if the infection is only mild, it can be fought at home too.

It is vital to clean and disinfect the piercing and the entire mouth thoroughly and frequently. Following the instructions given at the piercing parlor is very important for the prevention of complications caused by infections. The best way to clean and disinfect the mouth is to use a saline solution for gargling and rinsing. A saline solution is made from pure, filtered water and sea salt. This solution should be used several times a day.

A diluted, alcohol-free mouthwash can also be used for this purpose. If a mild infection does not subside after a few days of rinsing and gargling saline solution or mouthwash, it is better to see a doctor because it may be necessary to remove the piercing and to take medications, usually antibiotics.

During the infection it is not recommended to eat spicy and very salty foods. Anything that irritates the tongue and the mucous membrane in the mouth should be avoided. Alcoholic beverages do not directly aggravate the infection and the piercing site, but they reduce the body’s ability to ward off the bacteria or whatever is causing the infection.

Finally, it is not recommended to remove the piercing on your own, especially if the infection is still present. The jewelry should always be removed by a professional.

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