Sialolithiasis (salivary stones) occurs when chronic dehydrations, excessive amounts of calcium exist in the body, or when someone is suffering from bacterial staph infection. Disorders, such as Sjogren’s syndrome and upper respiratory disease makes your saliva becomes abnormally thick.
This causes salivary glands and ducts to become enlarged and block saliva flow.
Saliva is the body’s way of naturally “washing” away unwanted particles within the mouth, which makes healthy-salivary glands an extremely important part of having good-oral health.
Where are salivary glands located?
Submandibular glands are the affected glands that are positioned at the bottom of the mouth, they are the culprits when it comes to the function of the parotid glands, which are found underneath the tongue.
Those who are suffering from salivary stone obstruction are at risk for serious bacterial infection, which can often be helped by taking antibiotics or may require surgery to unblock the glands. However, “dry mouth” is a condition often caused by medication, such as the antibiotics used to help the clear the obstruction. Having dry mouth can cause more than just bad breath, without the mouths ability to naturally produce saliva the risk for cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease increases.
When salivary stones grow they block the salivary ducts, which is an effect from saliva released by the gland that has nowhere to go. This causes pain, swelling, and often a fever. In addition, this causes increased salivary production in situations, such as eating or smelling food. “Mouthwatering good” is not just a phrase, the sense of smell can cause increased swelling or pain from the overproduction of saliva.
Other symptoms may include:
- Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
- Halitosis – caused by dry mouth or infected glands
- Saliva that is bitter or gritty
If salivary stones are not treated immediately they could cause serious bacterial infection, which would require intravenous antibiotics or surgical drainage.
Allergies and chronic sinusitis (inflammation of the membrane lining a sinus) cause a rapid development of anaerobic bacteria, which are the microorganisms responsible for gum disease, tooth decay, and you guessed it… halitosis (bad breath).
Are there side effects from surgery on salivary stones?
Scarring from surgery could result in partial or complete failure of the salivary glands ability to function, which is one of the main causes of chronic dry mouth. Nerves that are near the glands are at risk for damage through surgery. This would cause numbness in the tongue or possibly facial paralysis.
How to prevent the formation of salivary stones:
Maintaining a sufficient flow of saliva is best way for prevention of salivary stones. Keeping your mouth (and body) hydrated will aid in its ability to stay healthy and prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and halitosis (bad breath).
Having daily goals for your oral health is the easiest way to keep your mouths health at its best. Brush at least twice a day, floss at least once a day, and make sure to have regular dental visits (at least twice a year). For more information on salivary stones and how they affect your breath, contact our office today and our friendly staff will be happy to help.