Salivary Gland Disorder - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Saliva plays a crucial role in the overall health of the mouth and the digestive system. It protects teeth from decay, keeps the mouth moist, and aids in the digestive process. The salivary glands, located in the inner linings of the mouth, cheeks, and lips, produce saliva. Salivary gland disorders are a group of diseases that affect the functioning of these glands.
The most common salivary gland disorder is blocked salivary glands, which occurs when calcium stones form and obstruct the glands. This leads to an infection called sialadenitis, caused by strep or staph bacteria. Other causes of salivary gland disorders include viral infections, such as flu virus and mumps, and Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder where antibodies attack the cells that produce saliva.
The symptoms of salivary gland disorders vary depending on the specific problem. For example, a painful lump below the tongue that worsens when eating may indicate Sialolithiasis, while a lump beneath the chin with an odorous pus-filled discharge may indicate Sialadenitis. Symptoms of viral infections may include muscle pain, swelling, and fever, while dry eyes and mouth, joint pain, fatigue, and tooth decay may indicate Sjogren’s syndrome.
Treatment of Salivary Gland Disorders
Treatment for salivary gland disorders is problem-specific. Surgery is required for salivary gland tumors, while radiation therapy is prescribed for malignant tumors, which may cause dry mouth syndrome (Xerostomia). Antibacterial and antiviral medications are used to treat bacterial and viral infections, respectively. Good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing regularly, are also essential for effective treatment and to prevent the onset of salivary gland disorders.
It is important to seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment of salivary gland disorders. Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding risk factors, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, can also help prevent the onset of salivary gland disorders. Proper management of salivary gland disorders can help individuals maintain good oral and overall health.