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How to Care for a Labret Piercing

By Lisa Sefcik ; Updated July 18, 2017

A labret is a piece of body jewelry that is inserted through the exterior of the lip or cheek and terminates inside your mouth. According to the Association of Professional Piercers, you can expect swelling, bleeding, bruising and pain for up to five days after you get a labret piercing. While you go through the healing process, exercising proper care is important to avoid infection and other medical complications.

  1. Rinse your mouth for 30 to 60 seconds with an alcohol-free, antibacterial mouthwash or packaged saline solution after you eat and before you to to sleep. However, rinsing too often or using a strong, alcohol-based mouthwash while your labret piercing heals can irritate your mouth and the piercing site. Baton Rouge-based Deja Vu Tattoo & Body Piercing studio suggests rinsing with a solution no more than four or five times per day.

  2. Brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Have a new toothbrush on hand after you get your labret piecing so bacteria from your old brush won't enter your mouth. After your piercing heals, you can brush your teeth, as well as the jewelry inside your mouth, more vigorously to prevent plaque build-up.

  3. Soak the exterior of the labret piercing between two and three times a day, advises the APP, which notes that you can place the piercing site in a container of warm saline solution for between 5 and 10 minutes or use a piece of clean gauze saturated in saline solution. Rinse the skin with water to remove salty residue.

  4. Cleanse the exterior of the piercing site no more than two times per day. Use a small amount of fragrance-free, antimicrobial cleanser in the shower or bath, allowing it to remain on the exterior piercing site for no more than 30 seconds. Rinse well with water to make sure no soapy residue remains.

  5. Pat the skin dry gently with paper towels. Cloth towels not only snag the jewelry, but they may also be a source of bacteria.

  6. Do not touch or remove jewelry during the healing period. The only time your fingers should touch it is during the cleaning process. Be careful when donning and doffing clothing, so it doesn't become entangled with the jewelry.

  7. Watch for infection. It's common to notice a thin, light yellow liquid to ooze from a new labret piercing, says the APP. However, if you experience marked swelling and pain and fever, or if the site secretes a thicker fluid or pus, contact your doctor immediately.

  8. Tip

    Always wash your hands well whenever you handle your jewelry, regardless of where your piercing is located.

    To reduce swelling and pain right after you get a labret piercing, the APP advises sucking on small ice chips and taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen.


    Right after you get your labret piercing, avoid eating hot, spicy or salty foods for a few days. Also avoid sticky foods, such as mashed potatoes, that can stick in your jewelry.

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