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What You Need to Know About Oral Piercings
What Exactly is an Oral Piercing?
An oral piercing is any piercing in or on the mouth. This can include the lip, tongue, cheeks and more. Oral piercings and generally tossed into the same group as facial piercings, but there are significant differences in cleaning and keeping. For many people oral piercings tend to heal faster, but if they are not well cleaned and maintained, they are more likely to be infected and cause problems.
Before Getting it Pierced
Be prepared for a substantial amount of pain--my spider bites hurt less than getting my ears done, but everyone's pain threshold is different. Keep that in mind before you jump right into it! The piercing itself is usually a very quick process, but the maintenance is something you really need to be on top of. Most piercers will suggest that you clean you clean and rinse your piercing at least twice a day for the first three weeks. Personally, I cleaned mine three times a day for the first two months. Make sure that you're ready for that type of commitment.
In addition, it wouldn't hurt to consult your dentist about what the particular piercing you want will due to your gums/teeth/etc. You are after all putting metal in your mouth. The barbell jewelry worn in a tongue piercing can cause receding gum lines and chipped teeth--and the same goes for most other oral piercings! If you're dead-set on getting an oral piercing, make sure that you're prepared for a gum graft in the future and some probable dental work.
Types of Oral Piercings
You have your obvious one-sided lip rings, your labret, your snake bites, your monroe. But what else is there?
- Spider bites
- Angel bites
- Canine bites
- Tongue/Tongue Webbing (Lower Fraenum)
- Smiley/Frowny (Interior and Superior Fraenum)
- Vertical/Side/Horizontal Labret
The list goes on and on!
Smiley/Frowny (Interior and Superior Fraenum)
- The first and easiest thing you need to do is regularly rinse your mouth with any antimicrobial/antibacterial alcohol-free mouthwash. My piercer recommended the "yellow" listerine. Rinse your mouth as you normally would, at least twice a day. Don't overuse it, though. Too much and you'll kill all the friendly little bacteria in your mouth that are trying to help you.
- Friendly bacteria in your mouth already do their best to protect your new piercing from external infections, but regardless, you need to avoid touching it.
- To clean the outside of the piercing, you should use a cotton swab with warm water (I generally had my water a little hot because it felt nice) and a germicidal or antimicrobial soap (for me, Cetaphil worked great). Gently rub the Q-Tip or cotton swab on the outside of your jewelry and move it back and forth. Never use alcohol or peroxide to clean your jewelry!
- Those little yellow globs and crusties? Don't fret, they're normal. Just some lymph and dead cells secreting from your piercing to show you that it's healing.
- Smoking, consuming alcohol, and any sexual activity that can aggravate the piercing will slow down the healing process. Not to mention, I can promise it won't be very comfortable either.
- Also, most piercers will suggest creating a saline solution for yourself. This can be a natural and cheaper alternative to antiseptics, but I suggest using both. Using about 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt (NOT table or epsom salt, these are not the same and will aggravate the piercing) dissolved into about six ounces of warm or hot water, dip a cotton swab/Q-Tip in and clean the piercing externally. To really get that sucker clean inside and out, rinse your mouth with the solution like you would with normal mouthwash. It's disgusting, I know. But I did it! And it helps more than you'd think.