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Suggested Aftercare for Oral Piercing

Cleaning Instructions for Inside the Mouth

RINSE mouth for 30 seconds with an antimicrobial or antibacterial alcohol-free mouth rinse (Biotene) or SPRAY with packaged sterile saline solution with no additives (read the label) after meals and at bedtime during the entire healing period, three to five times daily. Cleaning too often or with too strong a rinse can cause discoloration and irritation of your mouth and piercing. 
BRUSHing with a new soft bristled toothbrush, is recommended for brushing of food debris and plaque.  

Cleaning Instructions for the Exterior 
WASH your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning or touching your piercing for any reason.
SALINE spray three to five times daily. A brief rinse afterward will remove any residue.
SOAP(optional) While showering, lather up a pea size drop of the soap (antimicrobial/castile) to clean the jewelry and the piercing. Leave the cleanser on the piercing no more than thirty (30) seconds.
RINSE thoroughly to remove all traces of the soap from the piercing. It is not necessary to rotate the jewelry through the piercing.
DRY by gently patting with sterile gauze. Cloth towels can harbor bacteria and snag on jewelry, causing injury.

What Is Normal?

For the first three to five days: significant swelling, light bleeding, bruising, and/or tenderness.
After that: Some swelling, light secretion of a whitish yellow fluid (not pus).
A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is because they heal from the outside in, and although it feels fine, the tissue remains fragile on the inside. Be patient, and keep cleaning throughout the entire healing period.
Even healed piercings can shrink or close in minutes after having been there for years! This varies from person to person; if you like your piercing, keep jewelry in place.

What To Do To Help Reduce Swelling

Allow small pieces of ice to dissolve in the mouth.
Take an over the counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as arnica, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium according to package instructions.
Don't speak or move your jewelry more than necessary.
Sleep with your head elevated above your heart during the first few nights.

To Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

Use a new soft-bristled toothbrush and store it in a clean area away from other toothbrushes.
Brush your teeth and use your chosen rinse (saline or mouthwash) after every meal.
During healing floss daily, and gently brush your teeth, tongue and jewelry. Once healed, brush the jewelry more thoroughly to avoid plaque build up.

To Stay Healthy

The healthier your lifestyle, the easier it will be for your piercing to heal.
Get enough sleep and eat a nutritious diet.
Avoid emotional stress, which can increase healing times by up to 40%.
To help healing and bolster your ability to fight infection, take nutritional supplements daily, including iron, B vitamins, 1,000-5,000 mg of vitamin C (divided into a few equal doses throughout the day), and 30 mg of inc for women (50 mg for men).

Oral Piercing Hints and Tips
- Jewelry

Once the swelling has subsided, it is vital to replace the original, longer jewelry with a shorter post to avoid intra-oral damage. Consult your piercer for their downsize policy.
Because this necessary jewelry change often occurs during healing, it should be done by a qualified piercer.
With clean hands or paper product, be sure to regularly check threaded ends on your jewelry for tightness ("Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey.")
Carry a clean spare ball in case of loss or breakage.
Contact your piercer for a non-metallic jewelry alternative if your metal jewelry must be temporarily removes (such as for a medical procedure).
Should you decide you no longer want the piercing, simply remove the jewelry (or have a professional piercer remove it) and continue cleaning the piercing until the hole closes. In most cases only a small mark will remain.
In the event an infection is suspected, quality jewelry or an inert alternative should be left in place to allow for drainage or the infection. Should the jewelry be removed, the surface cells can close up sealing the infection inside the piercing channel, resulting in an abcess. Until an infection is cleared up, keep the jewelry in!

- Eating

Slowly eat small bites of food placed directly onto your molars.
Avoid eating spicy, salty, acidic, or hot temperature foods or beverages for a few days.
Cold foods and beverages are soothing and help reduce swelling.
Foods like mashed potatoes and oatmeal are hard to eat because they stick to your mouth and jewelry.
For tongue piercing, try to keep your tongue level in your mouth as you eat because the jewelry can get between your teeth when your tongue turns.
For labret (cheek and lip) piercings: be cautious about opening your mouth too wide as this can result in the jewelry catching on your teeth.

What To Avoid

Do not play with your jewelry. Long term effects include permanent damage to teeth, gums, and other oral structures. 
Avoid undue trauma; excessive talking or playing with the jewelry during healing can cause the formation of unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration, and other complications.
Avoid using mouthwash containing alcohol. It can irritate the piercing and delay healing.
Avoid oral sexual contact including French (wet) kissing or oral sex during healing (even with a long-term partner).
Avoid chewing on tobacco, gum, fingernails, pencils, sunglasses, and other foreign objects that could harbor bacteria.
Avoid sharing plates, cups, and eating utensils.
Avoid smoking! It increases risks and lengthens healing time.
Avoid stress and all recreational drug use.
Avoid aspirin, alcohol, and large amounts of caffeine as long as you are experiencing bleeding or swelling.
Avoid submerging healing piercings in bodies of water such as lakes, pools, oceans etc.
Each body is unique and healing times vary considerably. If you have any questions, please contact your piercer.

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