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SALIVARY GLANDS

SALIVARY GLANDS
Salivary Gland Disorders
 
Salivary glands make as much as a quart of saliva each day. Saliva is important to lubricate the mouth, help with swallowing, protect the teeth against bacteria, and aid in the digestion of food. 
 
The three major pairs of salivary glands are:
There are also several hundred minor salivary glands throughout the mouth and throat. Saliva drains into the mouth through small tubes called ducts.

Often, they can be afflicted by various diseases such as inflammation (viral or bacterial), autoimmune diseases, salivary gland stones, or neoplastic diseases. 

Childhood mumps, certain bacterial infections (for example, of the tonsils or teeth), and other diseases that are typically more common among adults (such as AIDS, Sjögren syndrome, diabetes mellitus, sarcoidosis, and bulimia) often cause swelling of the major salivary glands)

The most common reasons for which a patient will make a visit to the doctor are: 
Swelling  occurs:
 
Salivary gland stones: 
A stone can form from salts contained in the saliva. Stones are particularly likely to form when people are dehydrated or take drugs that decrease saliva production. People with gout are also more likely to form stones. Salivary gland stones are most common among adults. 
 
Tumours:
 
Swelling also can result from cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign) tumors in the salivary glands. Swelling resulting from a tumor is usually firmer than that caused by an infection. If the tumor is cancerous, the gland may feel stone-hard and may be fixed firmly to surrounding tissues.
 
Treatment
 
The infections are treated with antibiotics and antiinflammatory drugs. 
The salivary stones, can be identified and removed using very thin endoscopes, without requiring surgery. 
Benign tumors are removed surgically. The surgery is very delicate and requires skill and experience. 

Malignant tumors other than surgical excision may require radiotherapy and chemotherapy.