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19th January, 20211 min read

Ludwig’s angina

Medical reviewer: Dr Ann Nainan
Author: 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.

In this article

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
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