Salivary gland inflammation

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor


What is salivary gland inflammation?

A salivary gland inflammation is a type of condition occurs when a bacterial or viral infection affects your salivary gland or duct. The infection can result from reduced saliva flow, which can be due to a blockage or inflammation of your salivary duct. The condition is called sialadenitis.

Saliva aids digestion, breaks down food, and works to keep your mouth clean. It plays a role in washing away bacteria and food particles. It also helps control the amount of good and bad bacteria in your mouth.

Fewer bacteria and food particles are washed away when saliva doesn’t freely travel throughout your mouth. This may lead to infection.

How common is salivary gland inflammation?

Salivary gland inflammation occurs with equal frequency in both sexes. Viral parotitis (mumps) occurs most frequently in children.  It occurs with equal frequency in people of all races. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of salivary gland inflammation?

The common symptoms of this condition are:

  • A constant abnormal or foul taste in your mouth
  • Inability to fully open your mouth
  • Discomfort or pain when opening your mouth or eating
  • Pus in your mouth
  • Dry mouth
  • Pain in your mouth
  • Face pain
  • Redness or swelling over your jaw in front of your ears, below your jaw, or on the bottom of your mouth
  • Swelling of your face or neck
  • Signs of infection, such as fever or chills

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes salivary gland inflammation?

A salivary gland infection is typically caused by a bacterial infection. Staphylococcus aureus is considered as the most common cause of salivary gland infection. Others causes of salivary gland infection include:

  • Streptococcus viridans
  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • Streptococcus pyogenes
  • Escherichia coli

These infections result from reduced saliva production. This is often caused by the blockage or inflammation of the salivary gland duct. Viruses and other medical conditions can also reduce saliva production, including:

  • Mumps, which is a contagious viral infection that’s common among children who haven’t been immunized
  • HIV
  • Influenza A and parainfluenza types I and II
  • Herpes
  • A salivary stone
  • A salivary duct blocked by mucus
  • A tumor
  • Sjogren’s syndrome, which is an autoimmune condition that causes dry mouth
  • Sarcoidosis, which is a condition in which patches of inflammation occur throughout the body
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Radiation cancer treatment of the head and neck
  • Inadequate oral hygiene

Salivary gland infection complications are uncommon. If a salivary gland infection is left untreated, pus can collect and form an abscess in the salivary gland.

A salivary gland infection caused by a benign tumor may cause an enlargement of the glands. Malignant (cancerous) tumors can grow quickly and cause loss of movement in the affected side of the face. This can impair part or all of the area.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for salivary gland inflammation?

There are many risk factors for this condition, such as:

  • Being over age 65
  • Having inadequate oral hygiene
  • Not being immunized against mumps
  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Malnutrition
  • Alcoholism
  • Bulimia
  • Xerostomia, or dry mouth syndrome

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is salivary gland inflammation diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects that you may experience this condition, a physical examination will be performed. The following imaging tests can be used to further analyze a salivary gland infection caused by an abscess, salivary stone, or tumor:

  • Ultrasound
  • MRI scan
  • CT scan

Your doctor may also perform a biopsy of the affected salivary glands and ducts to test tissue or fluid for bacteria or viruses.

How is salivary gland inflammation treated?

Treatment depends on the severity of the infection, the underlying cause, and any additional symptoms you have, such as swelling or pain.

Antibiotics may be used to treat a bacterial infection, pus, or fever. A fine needle aspiration may be used to drain an abscess.

Home treatments include:

  • Drinking eight to 10 glasses of water daily with lemon to stimulate saliva and keep glands clear
  • Massaging the affected gland
  • Applying warm compresses to the affected gland
  • Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water
  • Sucking on sour lemons or sugar-free lemon candy to encourage saliva flow and reduce swelling

Most salivary gland infections don’t require surgery. However, it may be necessary in cases of chronic or recurring infections.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage salivary gland inflammation?

There is no way to prevent most salivary gland infections. The best way to reduce your risk of developing an infection is to drink plenty of fluids and practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing and flossing your teeth twice daily.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: August 29, 2017 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019

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