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Remember the sensation similar to that of a warm liquid flooding your tongue when you smell a deliciously baked chocolate cake? Or a freshly baked brown bread early in the morning? That is your saliva. The salivary glands present in the inner linings of the lips, cheeks and the mouth produce saliva. Saliva protects one from tooth decay, keeps the mouth moist and helps in the digestive process. Any disease that affects the saliva gland comes under the domain of ‘salivary gland disorders’.
There are three salivary glands in humans known as the Submandibular, Parotid and the Sublingual gland. The most common disorder that affects salivary glands is that of ‘blocked salivary glands’. Sialothiasis is a disorder wherein, calcium stones are formed in the salivary glands, which obstruct these glands. Obstruction of the salivary glands leads to an infection called sialadenitis, caused by strep or staph bacteria.
Sjogren’s syndrome is another condition which affects the salivary glands. In this condition, the antibodies in the body target the cells that produce saliva. This occurs mostly in women who suffer from autoimmune disorders. Viral infections are also common; flu virus and mumps are a few examples.
The symptoms of salivary gland disorders are problem specific; for Sialolithiasis, you will feel a painful lump below the tongue, which tends to aggravate when you eat. In case of Sialadenitis, there will be an odorous pus-filled discharge along with a lump beneath the chin. For viral infections, the symptoms will include muscle pain, swelling and fever. Symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome are dry eyes and mouth, joint pain, fatigue and tooth decay.
Like the symptoms, the treatments for salivary gland disorders are also problem specific. For salivary gland tumors, surgery is required. If it is a malignant tumor, then radiation therapy will be prescribed which may cause dry mouth syndrome (Xerostomia). For bacterial and viral infections, anti-bacterial and anti-viral medications are required for treatment, respectively. It is also important that you take good care of your oral health for an even more effective treatment. Brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis will help keep salivary gland disorders at bay. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
Is there any medicine for mucous fibrosis (hardening of jaws ,mouth due to long use of tobacco products)
Hi doctor, I am 38 year old, I have bleeding and puss in gums and foul smell. I am physically active and going for workout daily but I feel indigestion.
Sir if I bleach my teeth with baking soda and lemon, it is harmful for my teeth & gums. I want to use it for whitening because my teeth are yellowish regards.
I am 49 yrs, male. I have third molar teeth at an angle and it is pushing the second molar teeth giving pain. X-ray showed both have cavity in them. Dentist advised to remove both. Is it OK. What are the possible side effects.
If you want a healthy set of teeth, you must follow healthy lifestyle habits. There are certain habits that you need to follow strictly in order to keep your teeth healthy. Not maintaining proper oral hygiene puts you are at an increased risk of various oral diseases.
The lifestyle habits to maintain healthy teeth are:
- Brush regularly: Brush your teeth at least twice a day or if possible, after every major meal. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles so that you don't injure your gums.
- Flossing: Develop the habit of flossing your teeth on a daily basis, as flossing helps in removing food particles and other foreign substances stuck within the teeth cavity. It also does not allow plaque to accumulate in between your teeth.
- Avoid sugar: Eating foods that contain high amounts of sugar can lead to tooth decay. The bad bacteria that are present in the teeth use the sugar to form acids that erode the enamel of the teeth. Cavities may also develop in your teeth due to increased sugar intake. (Learn more Why You Should Stay Away From Sugar?)
- Visit the dentist: Most people delay their visits with the dentist as much as possible. Oral problems are not shown the level of urgency as compared to other diseases. Visit the dentist on a regular basis as untreated underlying conditions may lead to serious complications.
- Clean your tongue: Once you finish brushing your teeth, don't forget to clean your tongue. This is another aspect of oral health that most people miss out on. Bacteria can accumulate on the tongue leading to bad odor. Scrape your tongue using a cleaner to prevent accumulation of bacteria.
- Avoid smoking: If you are a smoker, then it is time that you quit. Smoking increases the risk of oral cancer and stains the teeth as well. You may also be prone to gum disease if you cannot ditch that cigarette now.
- Diet: Avoid eating junk foods as they are not good for your overall health. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits as they contain vitamins and minerals that keep your teeth healthy.
- Reduce stress: Excessive stress levels can contribute to various periodontal diseases. Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation to keep your stress levels under control.