You might love the idea of a tongue ring, but not the possibility of the bad breath it can cause. Because tongue rings pierce the tongue and use a piece of jewelry, the incidence of food particles and bacteria collecting in the cavity is high. This is the primary cause of odor or smell coming from the mouth even without tongue piercings. Taking the proper steps to care for your mouth and your piercing will help prevent an unwanted odor coming along with your new fashion statement.
Remove the tongue piercing carefully from your mouth. This should only be done after the initial healing has taken place, generally about eight to 16 weeks. Repeated removal and replacement of the tongue ring can irritate the skin around the piercing so only remove the piercing for a deep cleaning once a week or so.
Boil water for some types of tongue jewelry such as plastics or certain metals. Certain plastics might warp or be discolored by rubbing alcohol, so boiling water to sterilize these is best. For most metal jewelry, rubbing alcohol works fine. If you are unsure, check with the place you purchased your jewelry for proper care.
Immerse the jewelry in the boiling water or sterile rubbing alcohol for 10 to 15 minutes.
Clean your mouth thoroughly while the jewelry is soaking. Brush your teeth as usual, then scrape the tongue with a tongue scraper. This cannot be done while the jewelry is in place, so using it now is a good practice so everything is cleaned at once. Scrape the surface of your tongue from back to front, going as far back as you can. Rinse the scraper after each pass.
Rinse your mouth with the antiseptic mouth rinse.
Remove the jewelry from the water or alcohol. If it was in the alcohol, rinse it in clean water, as the alcohol will irritate the tongue if left on the jewelry. Set the jewelry on the sterile pad to dry.
Replace the jewelry in your tongue when it is dry. For regular maintenance between sterilization and tongue scrapings, rinse your mouth daily with the antiseptic mouth rinse when brushing your teeth, and check your piercing regularly for any food or particles caught in the cavity.
Caprice Castano recently left the field of construction management to operate her own contracting business and spend time developing her writing career. Current projects include freelance writing for Internet publications and working on novel-length fiction.
Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images