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Information on Salivary Glands

Salivary glands are located in the throat and the mouth and they can be divided into groups on parotid, sublingual and submandibular glands. All these glands produce and release the saliva into the mouth through the tubes, under the tongue and through numerous different ducts which are located at the floor of the mouth.

The minor salivary glands can be found in the lips, the inner area of the cheeks and all over the lining of the throat and the mouth. The saliva is used to aid in the process of digestion, protect the teeth from decay and provide the mouth with proper levels of moisture.

Dehydration is a risk factor for all diseases that affect the salivary glands so it is very important to ingest plenty of liquids on a regular, daily basis.

Causes of Painful Salivary Glands

One of the most common causes of problems with the salivary gland is an obstruction of the salivary flow, due to the formation of stones in the glands. The glands get swollen and severely painful because the saliva cannot exit through the ducts.

These symptoms usually occur, when the person is eating. Some cases may also involve certain types of infections which only worsen the situation. If untreated, the glands may even be abscessed. Different types of infections may also be involved with certain problems with the salivary glands. The most common one affects the parotid glands and it can be characterized by swelling.

Secondary infections from the lymph nodes may also affect the salivary glands, because they get inflamed and enlarged when infected. Malignant and benign tumors can get developed on the salivary glands and cause numerous different problems. They may be located on the floor of the mouth, the lips, the palate, the parotid or the cheeks.

Tumors always need to be checked by a specialist. Malignant tumors are characterized by fast growth and they can be painful in some cases. Certain types of autoimmune diseases can be associated with inflamed conditions that affect the salivary glands.

These medical conditions usually include dryness of the eyes and mouth and it can also be linked with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and alcoholism.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis requires a detailed health history and several different physical examinations and laboratory tests. The treatment of salivary gland diseases may involve medical or surgical methods, which depends on the cause and the nature of the medical condition.

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