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A to Z: Sialadenitis

Sialadenitis is when the glands that make saliva (spit) become enlarged and inflamed. It can be caused by an infection from a virus or bacteria.

More to Know

Sialadenitis is most common among elderly people but can affect people of all ages, including infants. It can be acute (short-lasting) or chronic (long-lasting).

People with sialadenitis generally experience redness, swelling, and pain at the affected site in the mouth. Other symptoms may include a foul taste in the mouth, dry mouth, decreased mobility in the jaw, fever, and a general ill feeling. Sometimes pus drains into the mouth.

At increased risk for the condition are people who are sick, dehydrated, malnourished, recovering from surgery, or taking certain medications. A stone or a kink in the salivary duct, certain diseases like autoimmune diseases, and poor oral hygiene also increase the chance of getting sialadenitis.

Some cases can be effectively treated with home remedies like warm-water rinses, drinking lots of water, massaging the area, warm compresses, pain medication, and taking a sialogogue (something that increases the production of saliva, like a sugarless sour candy or chewing gum).

For bacterial infections, antibiotics will be prescribed. If the infection is severe or spreading, IV (intravenous) antibiotics may be required. Thoroughly brushing and flossing teeth twice a day will help prevent the spread of infection.

Keep in Mind

Most people make a full recovery from sialadenitis with early treatment. Left alone, however, it can lead to an abscess (a collection of pus) or a severe infection, so it's important to see a doctor as soon as you notice symptoms.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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