Saliva is produced by the salivary glands to keep your mouth moist, to help protect your teeth from tooth decay, and to help you digest food. The salivary glands are relatively tiny and are located around the inner linings of the mouth, cheeks, and lips.
Different types of infections can affect the salivary glands ranging from cancerous tumors to Sjogren’s syndrome. Some diseases disappear by themselves with antibiotics, while others need intensive treatments, including surgery.
Three pairs of salivary glands exist in the mouth known as parotid, sublingual, and submandibular glands that are responsible for the production of saliva. The most common source of problems arises from blocked salivary glands. The blocked glands cause painful symptoms which are:
Sialolithiasis & Sialadenitis
The occurrence of sialolithiasis and sialadenitis in the salivary glands is quite familiar with sialolithiasis occurring with the formation of stones made of calcium in the salivary glands. These stones and prevent the production of saliva wholly or partially by blocking the glands. Sialadenitis is an infection of the salivary gland, which results in stones blocking the gland. The disease is caused by strep or staph bacteria and often infects older adults or infants.
Sjogren’s syndrome is another common disorder of the salivary glands, which occurs when white blood cells target healthy cells in the organs producing saliva, sweat, and oil. Women are most commonly affected by this autoimmune disorder, which is identified as lupus.
Viruses can also affect the salivary glands, and some of the viruses identified for this condition include the flu virus, mumps, echovirus, cytomegalovirus, and Coxsackie virus.
The Symptoms of Salivary Gland Disease
People with diabetes or dealing with the problem of alcoholism may also develop swelling in the salivary glands. If you observe any of the symptoms discussed, it is time for you to schedule your appointment with a dentist to have the condition diagnosed.
Your dentist will recommend diagnosing the condition according to your medical history after conducting a physical exam. Some situations become clear from the medical history and physical exam, eliminating the need for diagnostic tests. Your dentist may want to identify the reasons for the blockage for identifying salivary gland obstruction. If an obstacle exists, a head and neck surgeon will numb the salivary gland with anesthesia to release the blockage. MRI or CT scans can provide in-depth images if your doctor intends to target the salivary glands finely.
The remedy for salivary gland disease depends on the kind of problem affecting you and the nature of its advancement. Surgery is recommended if you have a mass in your salivary gland to remove it or the organ itself. You may need radiation to eliminate cancerous cells if the mass is cancerous. Radiation may not be recommended if the mass is noncancerous.
Radiation treatment can cause your mouth to dry up, needing dry mouth treatment from Rifle Dental Care. Mixing half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water and rinsing your mouth will also help to keep it moist. Antibiotics are also helpful for treating bacterial infections.
Taking good care of your oral health is essential for successful salivary gland disease treatment. These diseases can easily be prevented by brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day, which is also helpful in preventing tooth decay.
If you are affected by the condition of a dry mouth, you need to research for treatment by getting the condition identified in the initial stages. Salivary gland disorders can be treated successfully and only need timely attention from a medical or dental professional to free yourselves from the problem affecting you.