A healthy smiles begins with the health of your oral tissues, including the healthy functioning of your salivary glands. Believe it or not, saliva is an essential part of your healthy smile. This clear liquid, made mostly of water mixed with mucus, glycoproteins, electrolytes, enzymes and antibacterial compounds, travels through tubes in the mouth from your salivary glands. These glands are found at the bottom of the mouth, inside each cheek and under the tongue.
Saliva lubricates your mouth so that you can swallow, it also protects your teeth and gums from bacteria and keeps dentures in place. It makes your breath smell better and helps you digest your food. Sometimes these glands can become blocked, preventing the drainage of saliva. If this happens you can have dry mouth, pain, fever, bad tasting secretions, and swollen salivary glands. Common problems that can arise in these vital glands include the following;
Cysts and tumors – these can arise from stones, injuries or infections which block the saliva flow in the glands. Cysts may show as a soft raised area or blister and can interfere with eating and speaking. Tumors are usually painless and grow slowly.
Salivary stones – (sialoliths) come from crystallized saliva deposits. They cause the salivary glands to swell, and if the stones block saliva flow it can cause swelling and pain. Treatment is required to avoid infection in the swollen gland. You will feel pain that comes and goes and worsens.
Salivary gland infection – (sialadenitis) is a bacterial infection in the salivary gland which blocks the duct into the mouth. You will feel a lump in the mouth that is painful which secretes pus. Without treatment this will cause fevers, abscess and severe pain. These tend to erupt in one gland rather than both, accompanied by fever and pain.
Infections – viral infections like the flu or mumps can cause your salivary glands to swell. This usually happens in the glands inside both cheeks, and you will have puffy looking cheeks.
Treatment for any of these conditions may require medication, antibiotics, stone removal, warm compresses, and even sour candies to increase saliva flow. Surgery may be required to remove tumors or large cysts.
If you have any questions or concerns about your salivary glands, you can schedule a visit with one of our four caring dentists, Dr. Edmon R. Hutchison, Dr. Eric J. Gabrielsen, and Dr. Lena R. Craig, by calling our Royse City Dental Care team in Royse City, Texas at 972-636-2417 today!