Abscess under the tongue


An abscess under the tongue is an inflammation of the mouth, which is usually caused by bacteria. A small wound is enough for the germs to penetrate the mucous membrane and cause a purulent inflammation. In the case of an abscess under the tongue, a distinction is made between the base of the tongue abscess and the base of the mouth abscess.

The base of the tongue abscess is located at the base of the tongue, i.e. at the base of the tongue, whereas a bottom of the mouth abscess is located further forward in the oral cavity. Most abscesses under the tongue are caused by bacteria. The most common pathogens of abscesses are staphylococci bacteria, which occur naturally on the skin.

Through small wounds in the oral cavity, the bacteria penetrate the mucous membrane and cause an infection. The immune system fights the pathogens and an inflammation develops. By melting down inflamed tissue and pus, an encapsulated abscess forms in the floor of the mouth.

Besides wounds and small injuries in the mouth area, other inflammations in the head and neck area can also cause an abscess under the tongue. Often abscesses are formed by inflamed tooth roots, where the bacteria spread and attack the surrounding tissue and jawbone. Other causes are inflamed lymph nodes in the neck area or under the jaw and inflammation of the mandibular salivary glands. Tongue piercings can also lead to injury to the mucous membrane under the tongue and thus cause an abscess in the floor of the mouth.


In case of pain in the mouth area and suspicion of an abscess in the oral cavity, an ENT physician must be consulted. The diagnosis is made by examining the oral cavity with an endoscope or mirror, where the severe swelling becomes visible. The doctor can take a smear and identify the bacterial pathogen. In addition, the doctor can take blood and check the inflammation levels in the body. An ultrasound examination or a CT (computer tomography) can be used to confirm the diagnosis and assess the spread of the inflammation in the tissue.


. – Swelling in the lower jaw and in the area of the mouth floor musculature

  • Severe pain in the area of the lower jaw
  • Complaints when speaking, swallowing and chewing
  • Lockjaw: Problems with mouth opening
  • Swollen lymph nodes: in most cases the supplying lymph nodes in the neck area are also very swollen
  • Heat sensation at the affected area
  • Fever: High fever is a sign that the bacteria have spread through the blood or lymphatic fluid in the body. This can lead to serious complications, such as blood poisoning or brain abscess
  • Breathing problems: in the case of a large abscess, the swelling can be very severe and spread so far that breathing problems occur. In such cases a doctor must be consulted immediately