The parotid and submandibular glands are most commonly affected

Sialadentitis causes pain, tenderness, redness and a swelling in the affected area

What is sialadenitis?

Sialadenitis is  an infection or inflammation of the salivary glands.

There are three paired major salivary glands, found in front of the ear (parotid glands), under the chin (submandibular) and under your tongue (sublingual). There are also hundreds of minor salivary glands in the mouth and throat. These glands deposit saliva from ducts into your mouth.

Sialadenitis mostly affects the elderly or the chronically ill. It is commonly caused by a bacterial or viral infection. It can occur after a decrease in the flow of saliva which can sometimes be due to dehydration or a blockage or inflammation of the salivary duct.

The main causes of Sialadenitis are:

  • Infections – (Bacterial infections such as Mumps)
  • Dehydration
  • Autoimmune conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Stones
  • Strictures (a narrowing of the salivary duct)



  • pain
  • tenderness
  • redness
  • swelling of the gland – usually after eating
  • fever
  • nasty taste in the mouth


If the infection is bacterial, then an antibiotic will be prescribed. It is important to drink plenty of fluids. Massaging the glands and warm compresses will also help. It is also important to maintain good oral hygiene.

Additional tests such as ultrasound, MRI or CT scans may be required to rule out an abscess, salivary stone or tumour.

Salivary stones can be removed and strictures can be dilated. Very rarely, surgery may be required to remove part or all of the gland.

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