There are three pairs of salivary glands which secrete saliva in the mouth. Saliva is required to keep our mouth moist. It also mixes with the food and makes it soft for chewing and swallowing. It also helps to flush out the bacteria and remaining food particles from the mouth.
Infection Of Salivary Glands
The three pairs of salivary glands are:
- Parotid glands: they are the largest salivary glands situated over the jaw bone and in front of the ear on either side.
- Submandibular glands: they are on the back of the mouth on either side of jaw bone.
- Sublingual glands: the pair of is situated beneath the tongue in the floor of mouth.
The saliva is emptied in the mouth by a tube like structure called the salivary duct.
Salivary gland infection is caused by viral disease or by bacteria.
Causes Of Salivary Gland Infection
- The most common cause of salivary gland infection is viral mumps. It causes swelling of parotid glands on both sides of the jaw below the ear. With the advent of MMR vaccine, the incidence of this disease has considerably reduced.
- Blockage of the flow of saliva due to stone in the salivary duct will eventually result in bacterial infection. The most common bacteria are staphylococcal bacteria.
- Inflammation of salivary gland is also caused by sjogren’s syndrome, Hiv/aids, tumor and poor oral hygiene.
- Tuberculous infection of salivary gland.
- Severe dehydration.
- Following radiotherapy, when they are within the field f radiation.
Symptoms Of Salivary Gland Infection
- Brawny swelling of face or of the cheeks.
- Pain while eating and opening the mouth.
- Dryness of the mouth.
- The overlying skin becomes dusky red.
Salivary Gland Infection Treatment
- Viral infection such as mumps usually does not require any treatment.
- Antibiotics are administered when bacterial infection of the salivary glands is suspected.
- Meticulous oral hygiene with toothbrush and paste. Sodium bicarbonate mouth washes for edentulous patients.
- Dentures should be left out, except at meal times.
- A soft diet is advisable as chewing is difficult.
- Gentle massage of the glands to express pus.
- Stop smoking.
- Drink lot of water.
- Drainage of the gland may be the last resort in bacterial infection, if the condition worsens.