What is salivary gland and its function?

The salivary glands are responsible for the production of saliva. They are composed of 99% water and 1% digestive enzymes, uric acid, electrolytes, mucus-forming proteins, and cholesterol. Saliva’s primary function is to keep your mouth and throat moist, and it also aids in digesting. It eliminates microorganisms that cause tooth decay. A healthy adult salivary gland generates one to two liters of saliva every day, for a total of 23,000 liters produced over the course of a person’s lifetime. Continue reading to know more about salivary gland disorders and salivary gland infections.  

There are three major glands responsible for producing saliva. They are,

  • Sublingual glands

This is the smallest of the salivary glands, located in the oral cavity’s floor. They are approximately the size of an almond.

  • Submandibular glands

This is the second largest salivary gland and secretes around 60-67% of the saliva that enters the mouth from behind your tongue. They are divided into two parts: the surface lobe and the deep lobe. Both lobes are the size of a walnut.

  • Parotid glands

These are the largest salivary glands, and they are located in front of the ears. The superficial lobe and deep lobe are the two lobes that make up each parotid gland.

Functions of salivary glands

  • Keep your mouth moist so that your food can be easily swallowed
  • Amylase, an enzyme found in saliva, assists in breaking down the starches in diet
  • Saliva aids in minimizing the dangers of tooth decay and gum disease
  • Your mouth’s pH level is balanced as a result

Salivary Gland Disorders

There are several reasons that can cause salivary gland disorders. Some of the common salivary gland disorders are salivary gland stones or sialolithiasis, sialadenitis, Sjogren’s syndrome, viruses, pleomorphic adenomas, warthin’s tumor cancer and noncancerous tumors.

  • Salivary gland stones

The secretion of saliva is obstructed by salivary gland stones, also known as salivary duct stones or sialolithiasis, which are calcium-based stones that form inside the salivary duct.

  • Sialolithiasis

Due to an immune system disease, the healthy salivary, sweat, and oil glands that produce moisture are attacked by white blood cells. This results in dry mouth and dry eyes.

  • Pleomorphic adenomas

These non-cancerous tumors typically affect the parotid glands, but they can still affect the submandibular glands. They are more common in women than in males. They cause no pain.

  • Warthin’s tumor

This form of benign tumor, which affects the parotid glands and develops on both sides of the face in men, is quite common.

  • Cancer and noncancerous tumors

All three of the salivary glands are susceptible to salivary gland cancer, which is extremely rare. Non-cancerous tumors are frequent and can develop in the submandibular and parotid glands.

Common symptoms of salivary gland disorder

Below listed are the common symptoms of major salivary gland disorder.

  • A painful tumor beneath the tongue
  • Pain while eating
  • High temperature
  • Pus leaking into your mouth
  • Bad odor pus
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Salivary gland swelling
  • Pain in mouth
  • Tooth decay

Hope this blog on salivary gland was interesting and informative. If you experience any of the above symptoms, it is always suggested to contact your healthcare provider.