Sialadenitis (Salivary Gland Infection) : Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Sialadenitis! Do not get panicked by the name. It is commonly known as salivary gland infection. Have you experienced trouble swallowing? Then, you need to know about Sialadenitis in detail to take necessary action. So, you can prevent the pain and discomfort associated with the infection.

Your mouth is the most important organ in your body. Do you agree with me? You cannot live a day without talking, communication, or eating. So, it holds high significance in your day-to-day life. Your mouth has the salivary gland. It produces the saliva, which lubricates the mouth. The saliva performs some of the important functions like:

  • Helps in lubricating your mouth and prevent dryness.
  • Makes swallowing of food easier.
  • Protects the teeth against harmful bacteria.
  • Aids in the digestive process of food.

Therefore, you need to pay special attention to the problems that can affect the gland. Failing to do will result in a severe complication.

Know More About Sialadenitis (Salivary Gland Infection)

You may never notice the significance of the gland when it is working properly. But, any problems in the glands can affect your life drastically. So, let’s delve deep into it.

The salivary glands have three pairs of glands. Therefore, the combined working of the three glands helps with its smooth functioning. The major pairs of glands are:



The Parotid Gland

The largest among the salivary glands are found on the inside of your cheeks. The exact location is in front of the ears. Your paranoid gland is vulnerable to infections. Therefore, the condition is known as parotitis.

The Submandibular Glands

The submandibular gland is the second major gland. It comes as a pair that you can find on the floor of your mouth. They are the major glands responsible for the saliva production in your mouth. The glands are present on both side of your jaw exactly below the jawbone.

The Sublingual Glands

The small yet most significant pair of salivary glands lies under your tongue. So, you can find it at the bottom of your mouth.

Your mouth has several hundred salivary glands. The glands are spread throughout the throat and mouth. The ducts or the small tubes facilitates the saliva drainage into your mouth.

You can encounter different problems with the ducts or salivary glands. So, it can cause major discomfort to you. You may experience dry mouth, salivary gland swelling, pain fever, bad taste in mouth, etc. The most common problem associated with salivary glands is Sialadenitis.

What Is Sialadenitis?


Your salivary glands can get infected bacteria. One of the most common infection is Sialadenitis. You may experience the enlargement of one or more salivary glands. So, it causes inflammation and severe discomfort. It also disrupts the saliva secretion into your mouth.

Sialadenitis can cause redness, tenderness, pain, and swelling of the affected glands. You can divide it into two categories depending on the severity of the condition. So, you need pay attention to the changes in your mouth to take action immediately.

Types Of Sialadenitis

Depending on the type of infection and severity of the problem, the two types of sialadenitis are:

Acute Sialadenitis

You may experience a sudden onset of pain in the salivary glands with the acute sialadenitis. The bacterial infection can cause swelling. So, you may experience tenderness in the gland. The swelling cause severe discomfort to swallow. Another common sign of the issue is the pus from the ducts. Therefore, you need to contact your doctor immediately. The issues become easy to cure with the following methods:

  • Taking antibiotics after getting checked by the doctor.
  • Massage the swollen area to get relief.
  • Hydrating the salivary glands b drinking water at regular intervals.
  • Placing warm compress to reduce the swelling.
  • Maintaining oral hygiene to prevent the bacterial infection.
  • Take sialagogue (a medication) after consulting doctor to promote the secretion of saliva.

Chronic Sialadenitis

It refers to the recurrent issue of sialadenitis. So, you may experience frequent episodes of swelling and pain. You may feel it while having your food. The main cause of the chronic sialadenitis is the obstruction of the duct. Therefore, formation or stone or change in the structure of duct can result in the condition.

You may have the recurrent infection with the infection. But, you cannot find the issue right away sometimes. So, your doctor may suggest imaging to get more details. The CT (Compute Tomography) scan or ultrasonography can give a clear picture. It may show the dilated or calculus duct causing the issue. Your doctor may suggest the following treatment methods:

  • Gland massage to reduce the swelling and get relief
  • Drinking water at frequent intervals to ensure proper hydration.
  • Perform sialendoscopy a minimally invasive technique to treat the obstruction.
  • For some cases, open surgery is the right option for effective treatment.

Common Symptoms Of Sialadenitis

The salivary glands situated near your ear, under the tongues, and under your jaw are vulnerable to bacterial attacks. You also have several hundreds of salivary glands in the lips, cheeks, palate, and tongue region. It is also susceptible to infections. So, you can get the Sialadenitis infection at any point in your life.

You can notice the following symptoms with the infection:

  • Tenderness of the glands
  • Enlargement of the glands
  • Redness in one or more of your salivary glands
  • Decreased production and flow of saliva in the mouth (It is seen in both acute and chronic cases)
  • Dry mouth
  • Pain while eating food

Other than the infection, the salivary stones can also cause problems. It blocks the secretion of saliva from the glands. So, it leads to infections and other complications.

Is Sialadenitis Contagious?

You may of the contagious nature of the infection. Though it is a bacterial infection, it is not transmitted to others. So, the bacterial infection in the salivary gland is not transmitted from person to person. But, the case of viral infection is not the same. Therefore, you need to take precaution with the condition caused by the virus. The sialadenitis caused by mumps is contagious. So, it gets transmitted from one person to another.

Common Causes Of Sialadenitis

You may wonder why you get affected by the disease. The answer is several reasons may cause the bacterial infection.

So, some of the common causes that lead to the salivary gland infection like:

  • Coli
  • Streptococcus Pyogenes
  • Haemophilus Influenzae
  • Streptococcus Viridans

The infection caused by the bacteria can result in reduced saliva production. It is due to the inflammation of the salivary gland duct. So, it causes the blockage leading to infection.

Other Reasons

Viral infections and other medical issues can cause the infection like:

  • Mumps
  • HIV
  • Herpes
  • Salivary Stone
  • A tumor
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Radiation Treatment (For Cancer of Head and Neck)

Risk Factors Of Sialadenitis

The following signs can make the person more vulnerable to the infection. So, you need to take special care if you come under the category.

  • People over 65 years of age
  • Not having adequate oral hygiene
  • Susceptible to mumps due to not getting immunized
  • Some serious health conditions also make you vulnerable to the infection
  • Diabetes
  • Bulimia
  • Malnutrition
  • Dry mouth Syndrome

Warning Bells

When you feel something is wrong, listen to your gut. Check for the signs that indicate you have salivary gland infection. Therefore, you need to look out for the symptoms like:

  • Constant foul taste in your mouth that feels abnormal
  • The inability to open your mouth fully
  • Finding it difficult to open the mouth while eating
  • Having pain or discomfort while opening the mouth
  • Dry mouth
  • Facial pain
  • Pus in the mouth
  • Swelling in the Face/Neck
  • Redness or swelling in the jaw area
  • Infection symptoms like fever or chills
  • Swelling on the bottom of the mouth

You need to get the professional assistance if you see the symptoms. Contacting a doctor will help you get the necessary treatment.

Complications Due To Sialadenitis

You need to take action to rectify the complications of sialadenitis. If left untreated, it can lead to several other issues. Therefore, you need to see a doctor to avoid issues like:

Collection Of Pus

An untreated sialadenitis can lead to the accumulation of pus. So, it will result in the abscess formation in the salivary gland.



Sialadenitis caused by the tumor can lead to enlargement of the salivary glands. The cancerous tumors can grow. So, it can lead to loss of movement on one side of the face. You may feel the impairment of the area.

Affect Glands

The sialadenitis caused due to the infection in the parotid gland can cause severe swelling. Therefore, it can lead to the destruction of affected glands.

Spreading Of Infection

The untreated infection can spread from the glands to the other parts of the body. So, it may cause skin infections, cellulitis, etc.

Diagnosis Of Sialadenitis

You need to consult the doctor to detect the problem. Your doctor can find the problem with a visual exam. So, it may reveal the following:

  • Pus from the salivary gland.
  • The pain of the salivary gland.

If the doctor suspects a bacterial infection, you need to undergo other tests. Therefore, it will reveal the underlying cause and severity of the problem. The following tests reveal the salivary stone, abscess or tumor causing the infection:

  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan
  • MRI Scan
  • Biopsy

Treatment Of Sialadenitis

The treatment of sialadenitis depends on the severity of your infection. The underlying condition also plays an important part in your treatment. The additional symptoms like pain or swelling will lead to the actual treatment to eradicate the ailment.

Professional Medical Assistance

If you feel severe pain, then you need to visit your doctor immediately. Your doctor may prescribe the following depending on the condition.


You have to take antibiotics to treat the pus or fever accompanying the infection. So, you need to take the medicine until the infection goes away.

Fine Needle Aspiration

If your salivary gland has infection and pus, then draining it can reduce the pain. Your doctor can perform the fine needle aspiration to drain the puss. It will clear the abscess. Subsequently, you can feel relief. You can place the warm compress to feel better.

Pain Killers

Your doctor may prescribe the over-the-counter painkillers to relieve the pain and infection.


Most cases of sialadenitis have no cause of worry. So, you can overcome it without invasive treatments. But, in some cases, surgery is a necessity. The chronic or recurring infection can pose a risk to your health. Therefore, your doctor may recommend a surgery to correct the problem.

In rare cases, a part of your salivary gland gets removed to prevent further complications. Therefore, it results in the surgical removal of the part or the whole of the submandibular salivary gland or parotid gland.

Home Treatments To Solve Sialadenitis

You can take some steps at home to eliminate the discomfort caused due to sialadenitis. So, you can try the steps to reduce the discomfort.

Water With Lemon


The infection can cause a dry mouth. So, you need to stimulate the saliva production to reduce the discomfort. Drinking lemon water (8 to 10 glasses) daily can keep the glands clear. Therefore, it alleviates the discomfort.


Gently massaging the affected glands at frequent intervals can reduce the swelling. So, it can lower the discomfort associated with the infection.

Warm Compress

The warm compress can aid in reducing the swelling of the salivary glands. Therefore, you can keep the warm compress on the affected area to decrease the discomfort and pain associated with the sialadenitis.

Salt Water

Warm salt water is well-known for healing properties. It can reduce the infection and reduce the selling. So, you can rinse our mouth with warm water with salt in it.

Sucking Lemon/Candy

To encourage saliva flow, you can suck on candies. It is another method to encourage the saliva flow. Therefore, you can suck on the sugar-free candy or sour lemons. It will reduce the swelling and eradicate the pain due to dry mouth.

Most salivary gland infections are harmless. So, they do not require surgery. You can follow the steps to reduce the infection. It will prevent the infection from escalating.


Sialadenitis is a common infection. Several people get the infection due to salivary stone. It causes severe discomfort and pain. So, you can prevent the infection by taking some precautions:

  • You need to take optimum care with your dental hygiene. Your mouth carries several bacteria. So, good oral hygiene can ensure you can avoid infections.
  • Keeping your body hydrated can flush out the toxins and bacteria. Therefore, drinking water at frequent intervals can avoid the bacterial infection. The fluid consumption can promote the saliva production. The enhanced saliva production leads to the cleansing of the mouth. So, it can flush out the stones.


Never fear the infection. It is easy to overcome the problem with easy steps. So, consult your doctor when you experience the signs. Early intervention can ease the pain. It will help you lead a happy life without physical discomfort.


  1. Thank a lot for these informations…

  2. So, instead of making a 1/2 slice in my neck and using cotton ended wooden dowels to “pop” the abscess pockets. After already being admitted to the hospital for 5 days on iv antibiotics every 4 hours. Then packing the hole with gauze that I’m having to pull 2cm out daily now. All of this wasn’t needed if they would have just stuck a needled syringe in and sucked out the mass day one then antibiotics? Wow! I spend 7 total days in a hospital bed. Their general care caused the infection to abscess. They said I abandoned treatment for demanding to go outside to smoke a cigarette after they sliced my throat. This article has been a great help. Thank you!

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