Healthy salivary glands are an often overlooked aspect of a healthy smile, because most people think more along the lines of keeping the teeth and gums healthy. But what about your salivary glands? How do they help your smile operate smoothly?
This clear liquid lubricates your mouth so that you can swallow while protecting your teeth and gums from bacteria. It also makes your breath smell better, helps you digest your food, and even keeps dentures or other dental appliances in place!
Saliva travels through tubes in the mouth from your salivary glands, which are found under the tongue, on the floor of the mouth and inside both cheeks. On occasion, problems can develop causing your glands to become blocked and preventing saliva flow. This can result in dry mouth, pain in the glands, fever, pus, and swollen glands. Some common causes of salivary conditions include the following:
Salivary stones – salivary stones are saliva deposits which have crystallized, causing the salivary glands to swell and leaving you in pain. To prevent an infection in these glands will require treatment.
Salivary gland infection – bacterial infections in the glands can block the ducts, however they usually arise in one salivary gland rather than both, from bacteria in the mouth and possibly staph bacteria. You will feel a painful lump in the mouth which can secrete pus. Without treatment you may develop fever, abscesses and severe pain.
Infections – viral infections from the mumps or the flu can cause swelling in the salivary glands. But unlike bacterial infections, these usually happen in the glands inside both cheeks, and you will have puffy looking cheeks.
Cysts and tumors – other problems the salivary glands may encounter include cysts and tumors from stones, injuries or infections which block the saliva flow in the glands. They can show up as a soft raised area or blisters and can interfere with eating and speaking. Tumors are usually painless and develop slowly.
Treatment for salivary gland problems may include antibiotics, stone removal, medication, warm compresses, and even sour candies to increase saliva flow. You may require surgery for tumors and large cysts.
Don’t let problems with your salivary glands scare you; if you are experiencing any of the above signs, seek treatment and get your smile back on track! To schedule a visit with Dr. Lynh Pham, please call our Smiley Dental Garland team in Dallas, Texas at 214.321.8400 today!