Function Of Sublingual Gland: Causes Of Swollen Sublingual Gland

Sublingual glands are one of the major salivary glands situated below the tongue on anterior side of the mouth. This pair of gland below the tongue produces mucinous fluid which helps the mouth to remain moist and lubricated. It also triggers production of saliva. Because of the fluids produced by sublingual as well as other salivary glands we are able to chew and swallow the food.

Mucus secreted from this gland mixes well with the food and makes the bolus slippery to be easily swallowed into the stomach. With reduced secretion of saliva it becomes difficult for masticated food to be swallowed; rather it may get stuck in the throat or the person has to make more effort to swallow.

The secretion of sublingual gland is also effective in maintaining oral hygiene. Upon waking up in the morning, small particles left inside the mouth are displaced by saliva produced by salivary glands, including sublingual glands. During sleep secretion of saliva from sublingual gland decreases as a result many people experience dryness in their mouth on waking. Bad breath on waking is also associated due to less secretion and dryness for a long period of time during night.

One of the important functions of sublingual gland is production of mucin which helps in digestion of starches present in food while a person is chewing.

The starch is converted to more digestible substance called maltose which is easily digested by stomach.

Causes Of Swollen Sublingual Gland

Sublingual glands are exocrine glands located below the tongue. Swelling of this gland is commonly associated with eating and drinking too hot and spicy substances. However, the inflammation of such kind reduces after few days without any treatment. There are many more causes which may lead to blockage of duct through which saliva is released into mouth from the gland. Obstruction of saliva leads to swelling.

Many factors are responsible for obstruction and consequent malfunction of sublingual gland.

  • Sialoliths are crystallized stones formed from the saliva. Impairment in flow of saliva causes saturation of the saliva in the gland. This may result in stone formation and inflammation of sublingual salivary gland.
  • Infection, mainly bacterial and viral can cause swelling of sublingual gland.
  • Sjogren’s syndrome is one of the causes for swelling of salivary glands, which also includes sublingual glands.
  • A tumor in the floor of mouth.
  • Swelling and blockage may also result from excessive smoking. It is one of the causes for inflammation of sublingual gland.

Home Remedies For Swelling In Sublingual Gland

Swelling of sublingual glands can be treated either conservatively with the help of medicines and several other ways such as change in eating pattern, lifestyle change etc. In few other cases it may require surgery to reduce swelling as the gland may be obstructed with salivary stone or a tumor.

In majority of cases, the cause is infection. Viral infection such as mumps can cause swelling of salivary gland, especially the parotid glands. Rarely may it affect sublingual gland. Most cases of viral infections are cured within few days on its own. Once the infection is cured, swelling in the sublingual gland gradually begins to reduce. Swelling resulting from bacterial infection is cured with prescribed antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines.

Home measures also help in reducing swollen sublingual glands.

  • Drink enough water regularly. It prevents dryness and keeps the gland active to produce saliva.
  • Also include fresh juice as a home remedy for reducing swelling. Drink it daily for few days as it enhances salivary secretion of sublingual gland.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • If your sublingual gland is swollen, regular salt water gargling will help to reduce the swelling as well as the discomfort.
  • Ginger tea is effective in reducing swelling and inflammation due to its anti inflammatory properties.