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Salivary Gland Disorders

There are three large pairs of glands (parotid, sublingual and submandibular) in your mouth that produce saliva which helps break down food as part of the digestion process.

Salivary Gland Malfunction
Salivary gland malfunction that results in a decrease in saliva production can be caused by conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, depression, HIV infection and chronic pain. Saliva production can also be decreased by certain medications such as some antidepressants, antihistamines and sedatives.

Reduced saliva can lead to increased tooth decay and difficulty speaking and swallowing.

Good dental care is important in this condition. In some cases, saliva substitutes can be helpful.

Salivary Gland Swelling
If the duct or tube carrying saliva from the gland to the mouth becomes blocked, the gland will swell. The glands can also swell as the result of mumps, bacterial infections and certain other diseases.

If the duct is blocked by a stone, it can sometimes be squeezed or pulled out but may on occasion require surgery to remove it.

This page was last updated at 1:38PM on February 25, 2015.