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Infections of the Saliva Glands Overview

written by: AlyssaAst • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 7/31/2009

Saliva glands can often become infected, causing a number of uncomfortable symptoms. These symptoms can take many forms. Treatment for an infected saliva gland is simple once the condition has been diagnosed.

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    Infections in a saliva gland can be caused by a couple of different reasons. These infections can be caused by either a bacterial or viral infection. The infections can cause a wide range of symptoms. These symptoms are often very uncomfortable to experience. Infections of the saliva glands can easily be diagnosed. Treatment for the infection is very simple and usually does not leave permanent consequences.

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    Causes and Risks of Infection

    Many viral infections, such as mumps, can lead to an infection of a saliva gland. When an infection is caused by bacteria, it is usually a result of a clogged salivary duct, such as salivary duct stones. Poor hygiene can also cause a bacterial infection of the saliva glands. It is not uncommon for people with the infection to become severely dehydrated.

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    Symptoms of an Infection

    The symptoms of an infection are very obvious. Many have abnormal tastes or experience a foul taste. The mouth can become very difficult to open. Dry mouth is a common symptom of an infection in the glands. The face can become swollen around the lower jaw, ears, or underneath the tongue. The face and neck can become reddened. It may become painful to eat. A person with an infection may have a fever as well.

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    Diagnosing an Infection

    Infections in the glands can be diagnosed by either a doctor or a dentist. Ultrasounds and CT scans can be used to diagnose an infection. If an infected gland begins to drain pus into the mouth, diagnosing the infection is made easier.

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    Treatment for Infections

    Sometimes an infection of a gland does not require any treatment. However, an infection caused by bacteria is often treated using antibiotics. Antibiotics are not used to treat infections caused be a virus. If the infection becomes abscessed, surgical drainage may be needed.

    Treating an infection also requires good hygiene. This includes brushing the teeth twice a day and rinsing the mouth with warm salt water. If you have an infection, you should stop smoking to decrease the chance of the infection spreading. It is important to stay hydrated while fighting the infection.

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    References:

    “Salivary Gland Infections" March 3, 2009 www.healthline.com

    “Mumps- Symptoms" May 3, 2008 www.mayoclinic.com