I have had a tongue piercing for about 2 years. 3 weeks ago the area near the piercing started to itch. Then it became swollen. I have been rinsing my mouth with sea salt water and it calms it down again but only for a little while. This past Sunday I noticed that the area was bleeding. It isn’t a lot of blood but I can taste it and see it. I don’t have a regular dentist. My schedule is just too busy and I’m rarely at home. I’m a freelance artist and I travel a lot. Should the salt water help with the healing? Is there something over-the-counter I can buy to calm it down, or do I need to see a dentist? Thanks Cherise
Cherise – Yes, you should see a dentist. Itching for a few days is normal for a new tongue piercing while the area is healing, but not for a piercing that you’ve had for two years.
When an Established Tongue Piercing Is Bleeding
Bleeding around the piercing is a problem and it probably is a sign of an infection. Our tongues are covered with bacteria. Tongue piercing can introduce the bacteria into the bloodstream. Tongue jewelry—particularly if it is metal based—can cause an accumulation of bacteria that leaves you at risk for infection. It can also damage your teeth.
Unfortunately, if an infection occurs, it is not necessarily confined to the tongue. Infection can spread to other oral tissue and into your bloodstream. It can even lead to more serious conditions, such as hepatitis.
Although salt water rinses may give you some relief, don’t depend on them to heal your tongue—particularly if it’s infected. Make an appointment with a dentist right away. You can do an online search for an emergency dentist in your area. Be certain to explain that there is blood around the piercing. The dentist will see you promptly.
The dentist will have to remove the piercing to examine your tongue. If there is an infection, he or she will recommend that you not wear the piercing while your tongue is healing. Protect your oral and overall health by closely following the instructions for recovery.
This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.