Home Piercings Why Is My Tongue Piercing Sore After Years: 7 Causes & 4 Treatments

Why Is My Tongue Piercing Sore After Years: 7 Causes & 4 Treatments

7 Causes and 4 Treatments for Tongue Piercing Soreness
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Tongue piercings, especially those that are new, have more infection risks than other piercings. This is because the mouth contains a lot of bacteria, which can be introduced into the piercing site through eating and drinking. If the piercing was not properly cleaned and taken care of after the initial procedure, bacteria may have entered the piercing site, which can lead to an infection.

A tongue piercing can become sore years after the initial piercing for various reasons, such as irritation from a new piece of jewelry, an infection, or wear and tear on the tissues surrounding the piercing.

To help minimize the pain during the initial piercing process, many tattooists use numbing creams like Dr. Numb®.

In this blog post, we'll explore why some people experience tongue-piercing soreness, even years after getting the piercing.

Why Is My Tongue Piercing Sore After Years: 7 Causes

7 Reasons My Tongue Piercing Is Sore After Years
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Tongue piercing can become sore even years after the initial piercing. This can be alarming and uncomfortable, but there are several reasons this might happen. Here are some causes:

Allergies to Jewelry Materials

Some people may be allergic to the jewelry material used in their tongue piercing. This can cause redness, swelling, itching, and soreness in the tongue and surrounding areas. It is advisable to use jewelry made of materials like surgical steel, titanium, and niobium, which are unlikely to cause allergic reactions.

Poor Oral Hygiene or Improper Piercing Practices

An infected tongue piercing can cause pain, swelling, tenderness, and discharge of pus. A failure to treat it can cause serious health complications, such as blood poisoning.

Make sure your tongue is pierced by a professional who uses clean, sterile equipment and follows strict sterilization protocols. Also, maintain good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice daily, rinsing your mouth with saline solution, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco.

Accidental Biting and Playing with Jewelry Trauma

The tongue is a sensitive organ, and trauma can cause pain and discomfort. Accidentally biting the jewelry while eating, talking, or sleeping can cause irritation or even injury to the tongue.

Playing with the jewelry by clicking it against teeth or gums can also cause soreness. Avoid playing with your tongue jewelry to prevent trauma, and be mindful while chewing and speaking.

Tooth and Gum Rubbing From Jewelry

Wearing too large or small jewelry can cause constant rubbing against the teeth and gums, leading to soreness and irritation. Choosing the size of jewelry that fits comfortably and does not cause friction against the mouth’s soft tissues is crucial.

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Change in Jewelry

A change in jewelry is one of the most common reasons behind tongue-piercing soreness after years. Over time, the tongue ring or barbell can wear down or become damaged. The sharp edges of the jewelry can rub against the tongue's sensitive tissues, causing soreness, swelling, and even infection.

Incorrect Jewelry Size

Wearing jewelry that is too small or too large for your tongue can cause soreness. If the jewelry is too small, it can press into the tongue's tissues, irritating. Wearing too much jewelry can lead to excessive movement and rubbing against sensitive tongue tissues. Both scenarios can cause a sore tongue piercing.

Oral Health Issues

Your oral hygiene can cause soreness around your tongue piercing. Gum disease, tooth decay, or other infections can cause irritation and soreness around the tongue-piercing area. Also, food particles and bacteria can accumulate around the piercing, causing diseases and subsequent soreness.

4 Tips for Preventing Tongue Piercing Sores

Tongue Piercing Sore Prevention Tips

While tongue piercings can be a unique way to express oneself, they can sometimes cause discomfort or soreness. There are several steps you can take to prevent this from happening:

Choosing High-Quality Jewelry

One main reason for tongue-piercing soreness over time is low-quality jewelry. Cheap metals like nickel, copper, or brass can cause allergic reactions, inflammation, and irritation. Choosing high-quality jewelry like titanium or surgical steel prevents these issues and reduces complications. Benefits of high-quality jewelry include:

  • They are biocompatible and won't react negatively with your body's tissues.
  • They are sturdy and durable, reducing the risk of breakage or infection.
  • They are hypoallergenic, so they won't cause allergic reactions or sensitivity.

Maintaining Proper Oral Hygiene

Avoid tongue-piercing soreness by practicing good oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing can help reduce bacteria and plaque build-up, keeping your mouth clean and healthy. Maintain proper oral hygiene with these tips:

  • Brush your teeth twice daily, focusing on each tooth's surface, including your tongue and jewelry.
  • Remove food debris and bacteria with floss.
  • You can freshen your breath by using an antiseptic mouthwash.

Avoiding Playing with Jewelry

Playing or twisting your jewelry can be tempting, especially when it's new. However, it can irritate or damage your piercing, causing soreness, bleeding, and inflammation. Accidentally biting down on your jewelry can cause chips or cracks in your teeth. To prevent this, try:

  • Avoid twisting or playing with your piercing.
  • Refrain from biting down on hard or chewy foods.
  • Remember your jewelry, especially when talking, eating, or sleeping.
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Replacing Jewelry Regularly

Over time, your piercing and jewelry can accumulate plaque, bacteria, and dirt, leading to infections and complications. Regularly changing your jewelry and cleaning your piercing will help prevent these issues. Here are some tips:

  • Change your jewelry every few months or as recommended by your piercing professional.
  • Clean your jewelry and piercing regularly with saline solution or mild soap.
  • Visit your piercing professional if you experience any signs of infection or soreness.

4 Treatment and Recovery for Tongue-piercing Sore

If you've had a tongue piercing for years and suddenly feel sore, you may wonder why. It's common for tongue piercings to remain sore or irritated. But, it's essential to identify the cause of your discomfort and address it promptly to prevent complications. Here, we'll discuss practical ways to treat tongue-piercing soreness.

Use Mouthwash or Salt Water to Rinse Your Mouth

One of the most common and effective ways to ease tongue-piercing soreness is rinsing the mouth with salty water or diluted mouthwash. Here's how to do it:

  • You can mix 1/4 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water.
  • You should swish the solution around your mouth for 30 seconds ,spitting it out afterward.
  • Repeat the process 2-3 times a dayor as needed

Apply Ice to Reduce Swelling

Another way to reduce tongue-piercing soreness and swelling is through applying ice. Here's how you can do it:

  • Place a wrapped ice pack or a small piece of ice on your tongue and hold it there for 5-10 minutes.
  • Remove the ice and repeat the process every hour for the first day or two after your tongue piercing.
  • Avoid applying ice directly to your piercing to prevent infection.

Avoid Spicy and Acidic Foods

Foods that are spicy and acidic should be avoided

Spicy and acidic foods can cause irritation and discomfort to your tongue, piercing it and making it sore and sensitive. Therefore, avoiding these types of foods is best until your piercing has fully healed. Here are some examples of foods to avoid:

  • Vinegar-based sauces and dressings.
  • Citrus fruits and juices.
  • Spicy foods.
  • Caffeine and alcohol.
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Consult A Doctor Or Piercer If Soreness Persists

If your tongue-piercing soreness persists even after the recommended steps above, it may be time to consult a doctor or piercer. They can examine your piercing and suggest more advanced treatments, such as antibiotics or a more extensive bar for your piercing. Remember, it's always better to be safe than sorry and seek expert advice when necessary.


A sore tongue piercing after years is not uncommon, but it's essential to recognize the reasons behind it and take proper action to ease the discomfort. By maintaining good oral hygiene, regularly checking for allergic reactions, and being mindful of accidental trauma, you can keep your tongue piercing healthy and comfortable for years.

So, remember to prioritize your oral health and hygiene, and keep rocking that tongue-hitting with confidence.

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Matt Callard
I am a passionate traveler, as if traveling were my full-time job. I like to change my surroundings and environment, like changing desktop wallpaper. Nature increases the concentration in my writing, which helps brainstorming flow in my blood. I have a cat named Kitana. She is the most desperate about traveling, more than any other cat. How do I know? If I miss any tour in any week, she literally destroys my clothing with her wolverine nails.

I and my cat also participate in extreme activities like surfing, biking, hill tracking, paragliding, boating, etc. She was always there in my accidents, injuries, and stitches. She always sits on my lap when it hurts me most. The funniest part is that she has experienced all my tattoos. She sleeps on my blanket when I go through any painful experience.

My hobbies and lifestyle added many pain and injuries to my life. That is why I have a lot of experience in dealing with different levels of pain and burn. It influenced me to become a pain expert and share primary suggestions to handle any unwanted situations that hurt.


  • Can Tongue Piercings Cause Long-Term Damage or Health Problems?

    While many individuals have successfully worn tongue piercings for years without issue, prolonged use can cause complications such as tooth damage, gum recession, and even infections or nerve damage.

    It's essential to properly care for your piercing, avoid prolonged wear, and consult with a professional if you experience any unusual symptoms or discomfort.

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