Last Updated on May 21, 2019

What is Sialadenitis?

Sialadenitis is an inflammation of the salivary glands. There is redness, pain, tenderness and swelling in the cheek and neck areas. The function of salivary glands is to produce and store saliva. All the salivary glands empty saliva into the mouth through small tubes called ducts.

Sialadenitis is often due to salivary stones impacting the ducts, bacterial infections, poor oral hygiene, and throat disorders. The three major salivary glands, the parotid glands in front of the ear, submandibular salivary glands under the chin and sublingual salivary glands under the tongue are mostly affected.

Sialadenitis may be either acute or chronic. In the chronic form there is a history of recurrent swelling of the salivary glands after meals.

What are the Causes of Sialadenitis?

  • Bacterial infections: These include Staphylococcus aureus, streptococci, coliform, and other anaerobic bacteria
  • Viral infections: These include the mumps virus, HIV, herpes, influenza, and parainfluenza viruses
  • Gland hyposecretion: This indicates a reduced secretion of the salivary fluids
  • Dehydration
  • Blockage: This can occur from salivary stones or narrowing of the salivary ducts
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Xerostomia: This is an abnormal dryness of the mouth, which mostly occurs in the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases
  • Malnourishment and immunodeficiency
  • Sjögren’s syndrome. This is an immune disorder characterized by a dry mouth
  • Medications: These include beta blockers, antihistamines, and diuretics
  • Radiotherapy: Radiation therapy for thyroid cancer is an important cause of sialadenitis
  • Smoking
  • Chronic illness


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