Yes, the healing period is long, and yes, there are a lot of things on this list, but it’s important to avoid all of them when dealing with such a sensitive piercing.
- Contact with the jewelry: Don’t play with it or touch it, except when necessary for cleaning and checking the tightness of the jewelry (which you should do regularly, to avoid swallowing or choking on it if it comes loose). When you do need to touch the jewelry, make sure to clean your hands thoroughly first.
- Oral sex and open-mouth or French kissing
- Smoking (which increases risks and lengthens healing time), tobacco, gum, and any other foreign objects you may chew on (like nails, pencils, or toothpicks)
- Sharing utensils, cups, plates, or pretty much anything else that would touch your mouth.
- Recreational drugs
- Aspirin, alcohol, and excessive amounts of caffeine, whenever you’re experiencing swelling or bleeding
- Submerging in lakes, pools, or other bodies of water
- Hot, spicy, salty, or acidic foods
Maintain Long-Term Care
After your piercing is completely healed, you can cut back on the excessive cleaning and huge list of things to avoid. That said, it’s important that you maintain a certain level of care to keep your piercing clean, healthy, and infection free. Remember these key things for as long as you have your piercing:
- Change your jewelry. Chances are, when you got the piercing, you were given a longer barbell to allow room for swelling. Once the swelling has gone down, head back to the piercer to have a smaller piece of jewelry put in. With the long barbell, you’re likely to accidentally bite it often, damaging your teeth in the process.
- Don’t play with the jewelry. Just because it’s healed doesn’t mean you have free reign. Playing with the jewelry can cause scar tissue, as well as long-term teeth and gum damage.
- Brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and visit your dentist regularly for checkups.
- Brush your tongue and the jewelry itself to keep it clean and avoid build up of plaque or other matter.
- If you play sports, wear a mouth-guard for protection.
- Visit your doctor immediately at any sign of infection, which, according to the ADA, includes swelling, pain, fever, chills, shaking, or a red-streaked appearance around the piercing.