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Lemon juice no cure for Ludwig’s angina

Simple and effective recipe for angina,” reads a message posted on Facebook in Nigeria. 

The post is accompanied with photos of what looks like an oral infection. This suggests it is referring to Ludwig’s angina

Ludwig's angina is a bacterial infection that affects the floor of the mouth and underneath the tongue, and can affect the neck. Some causes include cuts or injuries in the mouth, poor dental hygiene and tooth extraction.

What is more commonly known as angina is a chest pain that occurs when parts of the heart muscle do not get enough oxygen-rich blood.

The post describes the preparation process and dosage – essentially gargling with lemon juice – calling it “very simple but effective”.

But is lemon juice a cure for Ludwig’s angina? We checked.

ludwig false

Treatable, see a doctor

We asked Osagie Akpata, professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Benin in southwestern Nigeria, about the claim in the Facebook post.

“This is not a medically approved treatment for Ludwig’s angina. We use antibiotics and surgery, not lemon,” he said.

Akpata explained that the infection usually starts with a bad tooth which, if left untreated, could further infect the cheeks and jaws. 

This would then be followed by swelling in the mouth and breathing problems, which could eventually lead to death if left untreated.

“When the infection forms a lot of pus, we have to evacuate it, otherwise it could cause problems with breathing. People lose their lives because of this,” he said.

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