Salivary Gland Disorders
Patients with salivary gland disease most frequently present with complaints of
oral dryness, swelling or a mass in a gland.

Saliva serves a variety of important functions, many of which are not appreciated
until salivary flow decreases.

  • Lubrication of tissue surfaces and presence of salivary digestive enzymes
    (such as amylase and lipase), help initiate and facilitate mastication (chewing),
    deglutition (swallowing) and digestion.

  • Surface lubrication is also important in protecting the mucosa from
    mechanical trauma and enhancing taste receptor function.

  • Salivary buffers, enzymes and antibodies provide protection against micro-
    organisms, caries (dental decay) and demineralization of tooth enamel.

A variety of pathologic conditions, including
inflammatory, infectious and
neoplastic, affect the major and minor salivary glands, resulting in potentially
significant morbidity and diminished quality of life for the patient.
Last Updated 22nd January 2016
Diagram showing the major salivary glands (parotid,
sub-mandibular & sub-lingual glands)
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Useful Articles:

Dental Update 1999.  Oro-Facial Disease. Update for the Dental Clinical Team. 8.
Salivary Complaints

The Laryngoscope 2000.  Long-Term Experience with Endoscopic Diagnosis &
Treatment of Salivary Gland Inflammatory Disease

Oral Diseases 2002.  Diagnosing, Managing & Preventing Salivary Gland Disorders

Oral Diseases 2002.  Saliva - The Defender of the Oral Cavity

Oral Diseases 2002.  Saliva as a Diagnostic Fluid

Oral Diseases 2002.  Salivary Gland Tumours

Oral Diseases 2010.  Salivary Glands – ‘An Unisex Organ’?

BMJ 2012.  Clinical Review.  Salivary Gland Swellings

Dental Update 2012.  Oral Medicine 4. Dry Mouth & Disorders of Salivation

Dent Update 2013. Oral Medicine 12. Lumps & Swellings - Salivary