Salivary gland infections, also known as sialadenitis, are generally caused by bacterial growth. However, sometimes the transmission of the virus can be the cause. In either case, the infection is usually due to a blockage in one or more of the salivary glands in the mouth. As a result, saliva production will decrease rapidly. If you feel you are experiencing it, immediately see a doctor to get a medical diagnosis and proper treatment. If you want, you can also do home remedies, such as drinking lemon water and applying compresses to the infected area, to speed up the healing process.
Method 1 of 3: Performing Medical Treatment
Step 1. Take the antibiotics your doctor prescribes to treat bacterial infections
Most salivary gland infections are caused by a blockage in one or more of the salivary glands. The condition is known as sialadenitis, which is generally caused by bacterial growth. If this is your situation, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics as a first-line treatment method. You should then take the antibiotic according to the doctor's instructions, even if your body feels better before the medicine runs out.
- Antibiotics commonly prescribed to treat salivary gland infections are dicloxacillin, clindamycin, and vancomycin.
- Possible side effects are diarrhea, nausea, indigestion, and abdominal pain. Some people also experience mild allergy symptoms, such as itchy skin or coughing.
- If you feel severe pain in your abdomen, keep on vomiting, or experience a serious allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing, see a doctor immediately!
Step 2. Use an antibacterial mouthwash prescribed by your doctor
In addition to oral antibiotics, your doctor may also prescribe mouthwash to kill bacteria in your salivary glands. If you receive the prescription, use an antibacterial mouthwash as directed by your doctor.
For example, mouthwash containing 0.12% chlorhexidine is often prescribed by doctors to be used 3 times a day. To use it, you just need to rinse your mouth as usual for the time prescribed by the doctor, then spit it out
Step 3. Treat the underlying cause of the viral salivary gland infection
If the infection is caused by a viral infection, you won't be able to cure it with antibiotics. Instead, your doctor will focus on treating the underlying cause first, such as mumps or influenza, and then providing a symptom management program to treat your infection.
In addition to influenza and mumps, viral disorders such as HIV and herpes can also trigger salivary gland infections. Not only that, medical disorders such as Sjogren's syndrome (an autoimmune disease), sarcoidosis, and radiation therapy for oral cancer can also be the cause
Step 4. Consult the doctor for possible sialendoscopy for obstruction
This procedure is a relatively new method of treatment, and involves a camera and a very small device to diagnose and treat salivary gland infections. Through a sialendoscopy process, the infected and blocked area can sometimes be removed to speed up the patient's recovery process.
Sialendoscopy is an outpatient procedure that has a very high success rate, but it is not available in all areas because not many doctors are familiar with and receive training in this procedure
Step 5. Perform surgery to treat severe or recurring infections
If the blockage of the salivary duct is chronic or causes health complications, the best step that may need to be taken is to remove the salivary gland through a surgical procedure. Remember, humans have 3 pairs of salivary glands, namely in the area behind the jaw, under the front tongue area, and under the back tongue area. In other words, removing one of them will not significantly affect saliva production.
This type of surgery will only take 30 minutes, but the patient must be under general anaesthesia and postoperative hospitalization. Generally, the recovery process can take one week and the risk of complications is minimal
Method 2 of 3: Doing Home Remedies
Step 1. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water that has been mixed with lemon
Remember, the body must stay hydrated so that saliva production is not inhibited, the infection can disappear, and the salivary ducts are no longer blocked. Adding a slice of lemon to the water is necessary because the sour taste can further increase the production of saliva in your mouth.
The best option is a mixture of water and lemon. Instead, do not consume lemonade or lemon water that has been added with sugar so as not to damage the health of your teeth and body
Step 2. Suck on lemon candy or fresh lemon slices
Sweets that taste sour can increase saliva production. However, make sure you only choose candy that doesn't contain added sugar to protect your dental health. If you want a more natural diet, try slicing a lemon into pieces and sucking each part alternately throughout the day.
Step 3. Gargle with lukewarm salt water
First of all, add tsp. table salt into 250 ml of lukewarm water. Then, take a sip of the water and use it to rinse the entire mouth area for a few seconds. After gargling, spit out the water and don't swallow it.
- Do this method 3 times per day, or as often as recommended by your doctor.
- Salt water can help clear the infection and provide temporary pain relief.
Step 4. Apply a warm compress to your cheek or jaw
First, soak a piece of cloth in warm, not hot water, then apply the cloth to the surface of the skin protecting the site of the infection. Compress the area until the fabric cools down.
- This method can be repeated as often as possible, unless otherwise instructed by the doctor.
- A warm compress can help relieve swelling and temporarily reduce pain.
- Salivary gland infections are most common in the area behind the mouth. That is why, the compress should be placed just below the ear.
Step 5. Massage your cheeks or jaw with your fingers
Apply gentle pressure using one or two fingers to the surface of the skin affected by a salivary gland infection (such as under one ear), then massage the area in circular motions. Do this as often as possible, or as recommended by your doctor.
Massaging the infected area can help relieve pain and swelling that appears, as well as open up blocked salivary ducts
Step 6. Take over-the-counter drugs according to doctor's recommendations
Ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help relieve pain associated with salivary gland infections, as well as relieve the fever that usually accompanies these infections.
- Although over-the-counter medicines can be purchased without a prescription at the pharmacy, it's still best to consult the doctor!
- Take over-the-counter drugs according to the instructions listed on the packaging and/or given by the doctor.
Step 7. Call your doctor if your condition worsens
In fact, salivary gland infections very rarely turn into serious complications. However, that does not mean the possibility does not exist! If you have a fever above 39°C, or you start to have trouble breathing and/or swallowing, contact your doctor immediately.
- Remember, difficulty breathing is a serious and threatening disorder!
- These symptoms indicate that the infection you are experiencing has spread.
Method 3 of 3: Reducing the Risk of Salivary Gland Infection
Step 1. Maintain good oral hygiene
Although salivary gland infections are not completely preventable, at least you can reduce the production of bacteria in the mouth through a good oral cleansing process to minimize the risk. In general, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss regularly, and see your dentist at least once or twice a year.
Step 2. Drink as much water as possible every day
The more water you consume, the higher the level of saliva production in the mouth. As a result, the risk of blockage of the salivary tract and infection will be reduced drastically.
Water is the best choice to hydrate the body. Do not consume sugary drinks that can have a negative impact on the condition of your teeth and overall health. Do not also consume caffeine and alcohol which can actually make the body more dehydrated
Step 3. Do not smoke or chew tobacco
Think of this as one of the millions of reasons that require you to quit smoking, chew tobacco, or never even try to do both. Tobacco can trigger the production of bacteria and toxins in the mouth which will increase the risk of salivary gland infections.
- Consuming tobacco can also increase the risk of cancer in one or more of the salivary glands.
- In addition to salivary gland infections, chewing tobacco can also trigger cancer in the salivary glands. Therefore, immediately consult a doctor if you feel a lump near the jaw, under the ear, or in the lower cheek area!
- If you are currently on vacation or domiciled in the United States, try calling the dedicated hotline to help quit smoking at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Step 4. Get vaccinated against mumps
Mumps is one of the most common causes of salivary gland infections. However, administering the MMR vaccine (measles / measles, mumpus / mumps, and rubella / rubella) can reduce this risk significantly.
In Indonesia, children generally receive the MMR vaccine at the age of 15 months, followed by a booster vaccine at the age of 5 years. If you have not received the vaccine, consult a doctor immediately
Step 5. See a doctor if you think you are experiencing any potential symptoms
Salivary gland infections can cause very common symptoms, such as fever and chills. In addition, you may also experience other symptoms, such as:
- Discharge of pus from the mouth that might taste bad
- Constant or recurring dry mouth
- Pain when eating or opening the mouth
- Can't open mouth completely
- Redness or swelling in the face and neck area, especially under the ears or under the jaw
Step 6. Perform an examination to detect salivary gland infection
In many cases, doctors can diagnose the condition through a simple visual examination and symptom analysis procedures. However, in some cases, doctors also need to involve more complicated procedures such as ultrasound, MRI, or CT scans to study the patient's condition more specifically in order to get an accurate diagnosis.