Problems associated with Salivary Glands

For those who are not aware of Salivary Gland I would say its the moist important part in your mouth. Its the gland that produces saliva and helps in digestion of food, preventing your mouth from bacteria, helps in swallowing and is also instrumental in lubricating your mouth. The Salivary Gland are made up of three major glands –

  1. Parotid Glands on the inner side of the cheeks.
  2. Submandibular Glands which is at the bottom of the mouth.
  3. Sublingual Gland which is below the tongue.

These are three major glands however if we check anatomy of tongue we have many more glands in our mouth perhaps several hundreds of minor salivary gland and the saliva enters inside the mouth by the help of ducts.

In case there is a problem with the salivary glands or the ducts, you will have symptoms such as dry mouth, salivary gland swelling, pain or fever. But what exactly causes problems with Salivary Glands. Well there are many different reasons for that and the most common ones are mentioned below –

  • Salivary Stones or Sialoliths: This is the most common cause of swollen salivary glands and they are the end result of crystallized saliva deposits. Salivary Stones block the flow of saliva and because the flow is blocked saliva cannot exit through the designated ducts hence is causes pain which is intermittent but then if not treated early it gets worse.
  • Salivary Gland Infection: This is the Bacterial Infection of the Salivary Gland. It is caused when the duct in the mouth is blocked. It is extremely painful as it causes painful lump in the gland. This infection is very common among adults who suffer from Sialoliths and if not treated early it will cause immense pain and also high fevers.
  • Infections: There are many types of viral infections such as mumps or flu that can cause salivary glands to swell. The swelling appears on both sides of the faces, in the parotid glands, and gives the face a swollen appearance. Swelling of Salivary Glands is not just limited to these causes instead they are swelled because of Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
  • Bacterial Infections: These infections cause just a single side of the salivary glands to swell and is accompanied by pain and fever. Risk of dehydration and malnutrition is increased because of them.
  • Cysts: If the flow of saliva is blocked because of Salivary Stones, injuries, infections or tumors that’s when Cysts occur. It appears as blisters or soft raised area. When they occur they interfere with speaking and eating.

How to treat Salivary Gland Problems:

Treatment entirely depends on the type of problem. For an instance, stones and other blockages treatment starts off with the removal of stones or sour candies to increase the saliva flow. If this does not work out then there will be a need for surgery.

Surgery is often required to remove normal and harmful tumors. Some tumors that are not harmful are removed by radiation which keeps them away from coming back. While the others need a complete chemotherapy. The other problems can be cured by medications simply.

Mouth is one of the most sensitive part of human body. We need to extra cautious as to what we consume. Regular visit to a dentist actually helps alot in detecting the problem in early stage. So my advice is eat healthy and stay healthy. Keep Smiling 🙂

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