How Do Tongue Piercings Affect Oral Health?

Tongue piercings can be a fun and unique way to express your individuality, but if not cared for properly, these piercings can negatively affect your oral health. There are many things to keep in mind when you’re considering getting your tongue pierced. We’ll highlight a few things here so you can make an informed decision about your piercing and ensure you maintain proper oral health.

Does a tongue ring affect your taste buds?

There is some slight damage to your taste buds when getting your tongue pierced. There will be a few taste buds that are damaged when you get your tongue pierced because of the whole that is made by the needle, but typically your taste buds overall will not be affected.

In rare cases, nerve damage can occur as a result of the piercing procedure. Usually this damage is just temporary, but in cases where the damage is permanent, there may be some damage to taste buds.

It’s important to make sure you are getting your tongue piercing done by a licensed professional to avoid unnecessary risks.

Can you lose your sense of taste?

If there is damage to the tongue and taste buds during the piercing process, you could experience a loss of taste. You may also experience some changes while your tongue is healing.

If the damage is not permanent, you will likely regain the normal use of your taste buds and will experience taste, but in rare cases loss of taste could be permanent.

Again, please be sure to visit a licensed professional to do your piercing. They are trained and understand the risks, and will be sure to take a look at your tongue to ensure they are piercing you in the safest place possible to avoid and negative affects.

Can they cause bad breath?

Our mouths are a breeding ground for bacteria, and food particles can get trapped and cause bad breath. A tongue piercing the jewelry can increase this problem because it provides a higher probability of food getting trapped if not cleaned properly.

In short, yes, tongue rings can cause bad breath, but there are some things you can do to prevent bad breath.

Periodically removing and soaking your tongue ring can help to reduce the amount of bacteria on the jewelry. You want to be careful not to remove the tongue ring until your piercing has completely healed.

It could take between eight to sixteen weeks for a tongue piercing to completely heal.

Removing your tongue ring prematurely could allow your piercing to heal and grow over. This can happen very quickly with a new piercing.

Even once your piercing has healed, you don’t want to remove the jewelry too often because it could cause irritation to your tongue.

Once you have removed the jewelry, you will want to soak it in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. You can also use rubbing alcohol as well. The point is to kill any bacteria that may be living on the jewelry.

While your jewelry is soaking, you’ll want to give your teeth and mouth a proper cleaning. Take time to brush your tongue and make sure you’re feeling very clean before putting your tongue ring back in.

Aside from these periodic deep cleaning sessions, you will want to make sure you check your tongue ring for food particles and use a mouth wash daily. Bad breath is always a possibility, but with these tips you can keep your mouth feeling and smelling fresh and clean.

Can you get a tongue piecing if you have braces?

Luckily, there is no additional risk associated with getting a tongue piercing while you have braces. Having braces does not make it any more dangerous or risky for you to have your tongue pierced.

Your tongue ring doesn’t pose any risk of damaging your braces. There is some risk of damage to your teeth in general, though, so it is important to take care of your teeth and gums.

What are the risks to your teeth and gums?

There is some risk of damage to your teeth and gums by having a tongue ring. The jewelry is in constant contact with your teeth, lips and gums.

This friction over time can cause damage and decay of your teeth and gums. Since it is difficult to not play with the piercing in your mouth, this causes additional contact with your teeth and gums. Over time, you could chip a tooth or damage a filling.

Contact between your piercing and your gums can cause the gums to recede, causing extra sensitivity and gum problems.

It is important to be aware of these possible risks to damage to your teeth and gums so you can try to avoid playing with your tongue piercing in your mouth.

Do tongue piercings affect your speech?

While some people may believe that tongue piercings cause speech problems and impediments that did not exist previously, there is actually no research to support this idea.

Just like with any addition to your mouth such as braces, retainers, mouth guards, etc., there is an adjustment period as your tongue get used to moving in the new space.

Your normal speech patterns are based on muscle memory, based on the space you have had in your mouth. You can certainly learn to speak clearly with a piercing though, so you just learn how to speak with the tongue ring in.

After a short adjustment period, you’ll be back to speaking as you did normally, to the point where people may not even notice you have a tongue piercing.

Right after you have your tongue pierced you can expect to speak a little differently as your tongue will be swollen and you will be getting used to having the jewelry in your mouth. You may worry that it will be a permanent change, but it won’t be. You will learn over time and as your tongue heals. Rest assured, you will adjust!

Are there any other risks to be aware of?

There are a few other things you may want to keep in mind as risks to getting a tongue piercing. A risk that is associated not just with a tongue piercing, but any piercing, it the unwanted removal of the piercing due to tearing.

This is a possibility your tongue ring could get caught on something and cause damage due to tearing. This is not very common, but worth keeping in mind.

Something else to keep in mind is any sensitivity to metals. Have you had a piercing before that your body rejected or you had a negative reaction to?

If so, you may want to talk to your piercing professional and see if there are other options for jewelry that may work better for your body.

Infection is another important risk to consider before you get your tongue pierced. Infection can be avoided with proper care.

This includes making sure to clean around your tongue piercing after every meal to ensure there is no food particles in the area where your piercing is.

You will also want to be sure to use mouth wash and brush your teeth regularly. This will help prevent infection as well as prevent possible infection, so it’s a win-win all around.

It’s always important to consider the risks beforehand, so you can be prepared for steps that you need to take to ensure that your piercing is a safe and enjoyable experience.


Even though there are some risks associated with getting your tongue pierced, it’s important to note that there are risks with any type of piercing. Even an ear piercing has risk of infection.

If you take care of your oral health by cleaning the jewelry, brushing your teeth twice a day, using mouthwash and paying attention to the jewelry’s contact with your teeth, you will be very satisfied with your new piercing and maintain great oral health at the same time.

Now that you’ve taken the time to consider all the risks and care needed to maintain your tongue piercing, it’s time to decide if this is the right piercing for you.

A tongue piercing can be a very striking piercing to add to your collection, and it’s definitely a conversation starter.

Take care of your piercing and your oral health, and you’ll be sure to be pleased with your new tongue piercing!