Your salivary glands make and secrete saliva into your mouth via ducts. This spit production system consists of three major pairs of salivary glands, coupled with nearly a thousand very tiny salivary glands scattered throughout your mouth and throat.
The saliva these glands yield help keep your mouth moist and clean, digest food and have antibodies that eradicate germs. Unfortunately, salivary glands do undergo some problems, like cancer, tumors, infections, blockages and other health conditions.
Symptoms will vary based on which type of salivary gland problem you encounter.
A salivary gland tumor typically causes a slow growing and painless bump. These tumors most frequently occur in the parotid gland. This saliva producer is located just below your ear, behind your jaw.
Having a lump near your salivary gland might mean you may have a tumor. But don’t stress that your enlargement is cancerous because salivary gland cancer is extremely rare.
Salivary gland cancer is classified according to which cells are growing out of control, for instance adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, etc. Cancer tumors in your salivary glands can grow quickly and may cause you some of these problems in the area:
All suspected tumors should be checked by your health care provider ASAP.
Treatment for bacterial caused salivary infection is taking an antibiotic.
Besides the general symptoms previously listed, a salivary infection problem may cause you to further agonize with:
A couple of the health related situations that may increase your chances of suffering from salivary infection problems are:
- chronic illness
- eating disorders
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- salivary gland abnormality
- salivary gland blockage, tumor obstruction
- taking certain drugs ~ antihistamines, diuretics, beta blockers, barbiturates
Without proper treatment, sialadenitis can develop into a severe infection or become an abscess.
Blockages of the salivary gland are ordinarily caused by stones. Medically referred to as sialolithiasis, this health condition means you have tiny, calcium rich, harden particles blocking your salivary ducts. Blockage could be full, or just partial.
Salivary blockage causes painful swelling of your gland caused by saliva flow back up. And this pain will often worsen during a meal because that’s when the generation of saliva is at its peak.
Treatment for a stone may be as simple as your health care provider pushing it out of your gland duct. If not, surgically removing it is your alternative.
Some other health conditions that can instigate salivary gland problems are:
Your salivary glands can enlarge without any evidence of cancer, tumor, infection nor blockage. This indeterminable salivary problem has a prevalence to develop in those with certain health conditions, such as:
- kidney failure
- eating disorders
- thyroid problems
- alcoholic cirrhosis
- while pregnant, breastfeeding
The branch of medicine that specializes in salivary gland problems is otolaryngology. And the removal of a single salivary gland does not result in dry mouth problems.