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Salivary Gland Infection

Salivary Gland Infection

Salivary gland infection reduces the amount of saliva formation in the mouth leading to many problems. Here are the causes, symptoms, and treatments for this condition so that you can have a better understanding of the same.
Megha Tiwari
Last Updated: May 12, 2018
The infection caused in the saliva producing glands is called salivary gland infection. It is mostly due to bacterial or viral infection. We all have studied in biology that there are three major pairs of salivary glands in the human body: Parotid glands, that are located close to the ear in the upper part of each cheek near the upper jaw; Submandibular glands, that are located on both the sides of jaw at the back of the mouth; and Sublingual glands, that are beneath the mouth's floor.

Salivary glands use ducts to empty saliva into the mouth. This is essential because it helps in moistening the food and makes it easy to chew and swallow. It also contains some enzymes that contribute in the process of digestion. Saliva is also responsible for cleaning away bacteria from the mouth.

Possible Causes

Salivary gland is made up of many tiny tubes known as ducts. Through these networks of ducts, saliva is emptied into the mouth. If, due to some reasons the flow of saliva reduces or stops, then it might lead to a bacterial growth, which might lead to a bacterial infection called sialadenitis. This infection commonly occurs in parotid gland that is located in the front of the ear, and in submandibular gland that is situated under the chin. The bacteria responsible for this infection is staphylococcus bacteria. The other infection that is caused is parotitis. It causes inflammation in the parotid glands. The inflammation can be due to bacterial infection, a salivary stone in the parotid glands, mucus plugs, Sjogren's syndrome, viral infections, HIV/AIDS, a tumor, and some other medical conditions.

Mumps, a communicable viral infection that spreads through the respiratory droplets, most often affects the glands and causes parotiditis. Nowadays, the infection in children is rare because of the MMR vaccine that is a cure for three infections - mumps, measles, and rubella. Another cause for this ailment is any form of bacterial infection that is mostly caused due to poor oral hygiene or due to obstructions like salivary duct stones. This is common in people who are dehydrated.

Associated Symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms are abnormal and foul taste during eating, decreased ability to open the mouth wide, frequent feeling of dryness in mouth, pain in mouth and other parts of the face during eating, redness on the sides of the face and on the upper part of the neck, swelling in the different parts of the face like in front of the ears, beneath the jaws, or, on the mouth's floor, and fever. The treatment should be followed without delay to avoid further complications.

Treatment Provided

Not all infections are of similar intensities. In fact, some cases may require no treatment at all. If the infection is caused due to bacteria, or, if pus, or fever is observed, antibiotics can be taken on prescription. If the infection is viral, then the antibiotics would not work. If the infection is caused due to abscess, then aspiration or surgical drainage can be done.

Proper oral hygiene should be maintained. Brushing and flossing should be done twice a day to prevent infection. To keep the mouth moist and to get a soothing effect, rinse your mouth with warm salt water. Sugar free lemon drops can be used to increase the saliva and decrease the swelling. Also, drink lots of water to avoid such infections. Massaging the gums would also help in preventing the infection.

If you are diagnosed with this infection, then it is a must to consult a doctor before following any 'self-prescribed' treatment. If you observe any of these symptoms, then do not ignore them otherwise they might get worse. Immediately go for medical treatment, take proper precautions, and maintain personal hygiene.