Salivary Gland Disease Specialist

Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists

Audiology & Otolaryngology located in Petoskey, MI & Gaylord, MI

A dry mouth, which is the leading symptom of salivary gland disease, makes it hard to swallow and increases your risk for tooth decay and infections. The team at Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists have extensive experience determining the cause of salivary gland disease and developing individualized treatment plans to restore optimal oral and physical health at their offices in Petoskey and Gaylord, Michigan. To learn more, call Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists or schedule an appointment online today.

Salivary Gland Disease Q & A

Why should I worry about a lack of saliva?

Lack of saliva is often a symptom of an underlying salivary gland disease or a potentially serious systemic disease that’s responsible for your salivary gland problem.

When your salivary glands don’t work properly, they produce less saliva. Lack of saliva leads to two primary problems, dry mouth, and tooth decay:

Dry mouth

When you have a dry mouth, it’s hard to chew, swallow, and speak. A dry mouth can affect your sense of taste and cause a sore throat and hoarseness.

Tooth decay

Saliva is one of your key weapons against tooth decay because it contains substances that neutralize plaque acids and repair early tooth damage. A lack of saliva can allow plaque to build up on your teeth.

What symptoms develop due to salivary gland disease?

You have three pairs of large salivary glands — in front of your ears, below your jaw, and under your tongue — and hundreds of smaller glands throughout your mouth. When these glands become inflamed and swollen, you’ll experience symptoms such as:

  • Dry mouth
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Pain in your face or mouth
  • Swelling in your face, neck, or under your tongue

You may also have a hard time opening your mouth.

What causes salivary gland disease?

Salivary gland disease often occurs due to an infection or a swollen salivary gland. You may develop a swollen gland from bacterial infections such as tonsillitis or tooth decay, diabetes, tumors, or an injury.

Other underlying causes include:

Salivary gland malfunction

Salivary gland malfunction refers to a drop in saliva production that’s caused by systemic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Sjögren’s syndrome. Many medications and chemotherapy or radiation for head and neck cancer often cause salivary gland malfunction.

Salivary gland stones

Saliva contains salt that can form a hard stone when you’re dehydrated, have gout, or take medications that decrease saliva production. These stones cause an infection and swollen glands when they block the tubes that carry saliva from the gland to your mouth.

How are salivary gland diseases treated?  

The team at Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists perform a thorough exam and diagnostic tests as needed to determine the cause of your salivary gland disorder. Treatment targets any underlying health conditions they diagnose, as well as medications and other steps to relieve symptoms such as dry mouth.

If you have dry mouth or other symptoms of a salivary gland disorder, call Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists or schedule an appointment online today.