Inflammation of the salivary glands or salivary gland infection is also known as parotitis, sialadenitis or sialoadentis.
If the flow of saliva in the salivary glands ducts slows or becomes reduced, bacteria can form causing an infection. A virus or bacterial infection can cause a salivary gland infection and an infection usually occurs in patients older than 50 years of age. Salivary gland infections can also occur in patients who are dehydrated or have xerostomia (dry mouth). Many times, cancer patients are very susceptible to salivary gland infections. Also, patients with Sjögren's syndrome, a disease which reduces salivary flow, may be susceptible to an infection.
There are three major pairs of salivary glands in your mouth. The salivary glands are made up of the parotid, submandibular, sublingual and over 600 minor glands. The parotid is the largest and there is a pair of submandibular glands located beneath the lower jaws. You produce more than 70 percent of your saliva with the submandibular glands. Beneath the tongue is a pair of sublingual glands which produces five percent of your saliva. The other tiny minor salivary glands are located throughout the mouth.
Symptoms of a salivary gland infection may include a lump in your cheek or chin (check for a lump in front of your ear). The area is generally tender and painful. If the infection spreads, you may experience chills or a fever.
Other symptoms of a salivary gland infection include:
· Difficultly opening your mouth
· Pain in the face or neck
· Swelling of the face or neck
· Dry mouth
· Bad taste in your mouth
· Pus in your mouth
An antibiotic maybe prescribed if you have an infection. A salivary gland infection usually lasts seven days. Some doctors may also advise on a warm salt water wash (1/2 teaspoon to one cup of warm water) and keep your teeth clean by brushing twice daily. Also, a health care professional may advise on low and no calorie candies to stimulate saliva production.
Salivary glands are fairly common. In regards to preventing a salivary gland infection, drinking plenty of water and good oral hygiene is essential. You are at a higher risk of a salivary gland infection if you are a smoker.
An ear, nose and throat specialist is the best source to diagnose a salivary gland infection. If you believe you have an infection, contact your health care provider immediately.
MC Ortega is the former publicist for the late Walter Payton and Coca-Cola. Ortega is a senior communications and messaging executive specializing in media relations, social media, program development and crisis communications. Also, Ortega is an avid traveler and international shopper. Ortega resides with her partner, Craig, dog, Fionne and extensive shoe collection. Ortega also enjoys jewelry design/production and flamenco dancing.