Signs & Symptoms of an Infected Tongue Ring

Tongue rings are a fashionable body piercing, yet an infection can cause major medical problems from disfigurement, obstructed airway or even blood poisoning. Learn the symptoms of an infected oral piercing to avoid further medical problems. Only receive a piercing from a licensed body art specialist who uses sterile equipment. To prevent infection, clean the tongue piercing daily by rinsing the mouth with an antiseptic rinse such as Listerine and dilute the rinse with 50 percent water. Do not remove the tongue piercing if an infection is suspected as an abscess can form. Instead, visit a medical professional for an examination and treatment.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


Discharge can seep from the infected piercing area. White discharge is a common bodily reaction when getting your tongue pierced, and a small amount may be present. However, the discharge may indicate an infection is present or beginning to form. Continue to monitor for additional signs and symptoms of an infection. An infection is likely with yellow drainage. Green drainage is a serious condition and requires immediate medical attention, according to Body-Jewelry-U-Seek, a Website devoted to body piercings and tattoos.

Prolonged Bleeding

Bleeding for any length of time is a serious condition. The tongue has large amounts of blood vessels and arteries, but bleeding should not be constant. A very small amount of bleeding may occur after the initial piercing, yet continuous bleeding is a sign something is wrong. Seek medical attention immediately.


The area will feel tender or painful to touch. You may feel a throbbing sensation radiating in the tongue and the tongue may increase in size. Monitor any swelling closely; if swelling continues, the tongue and throat can obstruct the airway. Only use tongue rings made of gold, titanium or surgical steel, according to Dr. Ken Walker as reported in The Canada Free Press.


A fever may indicate the presence of an infection; the degree of a fever does not indicate the severity of the condition. For example, a severe infection may have a low grade fever, and a mild infection may have a high fever—according to The Mayo Clinic. Monitor all body temperature changes above 98.6 degrees closely.