19th January, 20211 min read

Ludwig’s angina

Medical reviewer:
Dr Ann Nainan
Dr Ann Nainan
Dr Lauretta Ihonor
Dr Lauretta Ihonor
Last reviewed: 08/12/2020
Medically reviewed

All of Healthily's articles undergo medical safety checks to verify that the information is medically safe. View more details in our safety page, or read our editorial policy.

Ludwig’s angina is a rare bacterial infection of the floor of the mouth, under the tongue. It typically happens when a tooth infection spreads past the tooth, but it can also be caused by an infection in other parts of the mouth or throat.

If you have Ludwig’s angina, you may have symptoms that include:

  • fever and chills
  • feeling generally unwell
  • mouth pain and drooling
  • a stiff neck and pain when swallowing
  • a muffled voice or trouble speaking
  • swelling under your jaw

If the condition progresses, you may notice you have difficulty breathing, noisy breathing, and your skin and lips may turn blue.

Ludwig’s angina is an emergency condition that needs urgent treatment in hospital. If you think you have it, call an ambulance or go to hospital immediately.

Ludwig’s angina treatment

Ludwig's angina is usually treated by:

  • keeping your airway open (a tube may be put directly into your throat or through your nose),
  • antibiotics
  • surgery – this is less common
Was this article helpful?

We include references at the end of every article, so you know where we get our facts. We only ever take evidence from medically-recognised sources, approved by the UK National Health Service's The Information Standard, or certified by Health On the Net (HON). When we talk about popular health trends or claims, we'll always tell you if there's very little or no evidence to back them up. Our medical team also checks our sources, making sure they're appropriate and that we've interpreted the science correctly.

Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.