When you have a cold or are otherwise sick, you might notice that the lymph nodes on your throat feel swollen. While they won't necessarily hurt, they may be evident to the touch. The good news is that they'll quickly return to their normal size once you get over your cold. It's possible for these lymph nodes to be swollen even if you're not sick, so it's a good idea to monitor them and assess how you feel. While a visit to the doctor is always a good idea if you're concerned, you should also think about visiting your dentist. Swollen lymph nodes around the throat are often indicative of dental health issues.
If you're suffering from gum disease, you may notice that your lymph nodes are swollen and remain that way for an extended period of time. This is because the prolific amount of bacteria in your mouth is taxing your body's immune system, not unlike how a virus taxes the immune system. There are many assorted symptoms that can indicate gum disease, but if you aren't aware of them, you might not necessarily pick up on them. Swollen lymph nodes are easy to spot, however, so if you're aware of this issue, it's time to see your dentist.
An abscess in one of your teeth can also cause your lymph nodes to become swollen and remain swollen for an extended period of time. Dental abscesses don't go away on their own. You're dealing with an infection inside of the tooth and, once again, this causes your body's immune system to attempt to fight the infection. Unfortunately, it can't make the infection go away without outside help — namely, a visit to your dentist, who can deal with the abscess and then likely prescribe you some antibiotics to clear up the infection.
Oral cancer might not get mentioned as much as other forms of cancer, but it affects many people. An early warning sign of oral cancer is the swelling of the lymph nodes in your throat. While anyone can technically get oral cancer, your probability of developing this serious disease is much higher if you smoke or use tobacco products. If you fit this demographic and are aware of swollen lymph nodes in your throat, make a point of visiting your dentist as soon as you can for an assessment of what might be going on.