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How to clean the salivary glands

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The salivary glands fulfill the function of producing saliva, which in turn helps to initiate the digestion process of the food we consume. These glands can become inflamed if the tubes that drain saliva into the mouth become blocked due to stones or tumors.

Inflammation of the salivary glands can occur in people of any age, however, in those who are older than 40 years, the probability is higher. To avoid these stones that obstruct the salivary ducts, it is very important to maintain good oral hygiene. That is why in the following FastlyHeal article we tell you how to clean the salivary glands .

What are the salivary glands?

The salivary glands are exocrine glands of the digestive system. These glands produce saliva that will be poured into the oral cavity to moisten food and facilitate chewing and swallowing. Saliva, in turn, keeps the mouth hydrated and clean . It is a 99% aqueous substance and contains 1% proteins, electrolytes, enzymes, amino acids and other substances that protect oral health.

The salivary glands produce between a liter and a liter and a half of saliva throughout a day. These are located around the mouth and according to their size and the amount of saliva they produce, they are classified into:

  • Minor salivary glands: they are small and exist between 800 and 1000 along the mucosa of the mouth, lips, tongue and palate. They supply between 10% to 20% of the total saliva, which in this case is excreted directly in the mouth.
  • Major salivary glands: they are larger and produce most of the saliva; about 80% to 90%. It is about three pairs of glands located on each side of the jaw and that, being outside the mouth, require salivary ducts for the saliva to reach it. They are called: parotid, submandibular and sublingual.

Salivary gland obstruction

Humans have three pairs of important glands :

  • The parotid.
  • La submandibular.
  • The sublingual.

In addition, there are also hundreds of other small glands distributed in the mouth and throat. To a greater or lesser extent, all salivary glands secrete saliva. The small ones directly to the mouth and the larger ones through salivary ducts responsible for draining the saliva into the mouth.

Sometimes these ducts can become clogged with stones or sialoliths , causing saliva to flow back into the gland and in turn causing swelling and pain in the face, neck, or mouth. In this retained saliva, in addition, viruses and bacteria can multiply that can cause infections. Another common symptom of blocked salivary ducts is dry mouth.

Inflammation of the salivary glands is called sialadenitis and mainly affects the submandibular glands, although it also affects the parotids. When you have these symptoms, the most advisable thing is to go to the doctor who may indicate a tomography, an MRI or a biopsy to confirm the obstruction and locate it.

Inflamed salivary glands: symptoms and causes

When stones form that obstruct the salivary ducts, the saliva is not drained properly, which causes inflammation of the salivary glands or sialadenitis. These are stones that measure between 1 to 10 mm , which although it seems tiny is enough to block the passage of saliva. These stones in the salivary glands or mineralized crystals form for a number of reasons, including:

  • Alteration in the composition of saliva.
  • Dehydration of the body, due to insufficient consumption of fluids or prolonged exposure to the sun.
  • Certain autoimmune diseases that attack the salivary glands, such as: HIV and Sjögren’s syndrome. Also depression and anxiety.
  • The use of certain drugs that can reduce saliva production such as antidepressants.
  • Some medical treatments such as mouth or throat surgeries.
  • Benign and malignant tumors.

Swollen salivary glands: symptoms

Symptoms of this condition include:

  • Dry mouth .
  • Difficulty swallowing food.
  • Halitosis.
  • Pain.
  • Inflammation.
  • Pus.
  • Fever, if the infection becomes severe.

For this reason, it is recommended to see a doctor immediately if you suspect that you have this disease. Symptoms are often increased when food is eaten. Inflammation of the salivary glands usually comes on suddenly.

Swollen salivary glands: treatment

The treatment for this condition ranges from a gentle massage that helps to expel the stone if it is small, to the surgical intervention that allows it to be removed if it is very large or it is a tumor. Once the stone has been extracted, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene and especially to stop smoking if you are a smoker, trying to avoid recurrence. In addition, pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, and antibiotics are often given to relieve the patient and fight the infection . If treated properly, it generally evolves positively.

How to clean the salivary glands?

The obstruction of the salivary ducts, although at first it is not a serious disease, can become very annoying and painful. In addition, if it is not treated, it can lead to other more serious problems. Without a doubt, the best thing would be not to get to suffer from this disease. Here are some recommendations on how to clean the salivary glands in order to maintain good oral hygiene and especially to keep the salivary ducts clear:

  • Stimulating the production of saliva serves to clean the salivary glands and even serves to remove a small stone that may be partially obstructing the duct and has not yet detected it. Salivation can be stimulated through stimulants such as highly acidic fruits or by eating chewing gum.
  • Staying hydrated for which you have to drink plenty of fluids, avoiding carbonated drinks and preferring water. Also hydrate with special attention if you are exposed to the sun and heat or if you make a lot of physical effort that leads to excessive sweating.
  • Drink warm soup or hot tea to help reduce inflammation. You can also make a mixture of ginger, turmeric, black pepper and chili to which you will add boiling water and salt. This will serve as a gargle to decrease inflammation and pain if a gland is already inflamed and to maintain oral hygiene. Ginger tea alone can also be used.
  • Gargle with salt water . This remedy serves to keep the mouth and throat disinfected, eliminating impurities, but it can also help reduce pain and swelling, if any. It should be done several times a day with a full glass of salt water each time.
  • Place warm compresses along the jaw, starting at the level of the ear. This helps to increase the amount of saliva, while helping to reduce pain.

If you think you have an inflamed salivary gland, do not hesitate to consult your doctor who will be able to prescribe an appropriate treatment or recommend some medical procedures to remove the stones. In general, they are simple treatments that result in a cure for this disease, which evolves favorably in the vast majority of cases.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to How to clean the salivary glands , we recommend that you enter our category of Teeth and mouth .

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