(Sialadenitis; Salivary Gland Infection)
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Parotitis is swelling in one or both of the parotid glands. These are two large salivary glands that are inside each cheek over the jaw in front of each ear.
The problem can be:
There are many causes. It depends whether the illness is acute or chronic. The most common ones are:
This illness is more common in older adults and newborns. Other things that may raise your risk are:
Acute parotitis may cause:
Chronic parotitis may cause:
Chronic parotitis can destroy the salivary glands.
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This may be enough to make a diagnosis. Tests may include a blood test and a fluid sample from the parotid gland.
Pictures may be taken of the area. These may be done with:
Treatment depends on what is causing the parotitis. This may mean:
Good Oral Hygiene
Flossing once a day and brush your teeth at least twice a day to help with healing. Warm salt-water rinses can help keep the mouth moist.
You may be given:
Increasing saliva flow may be all that is needed to remove a mucus plug or small stone. This may be done by sucking on a sour candy.
If that is not helpful, the doctor may need to remove a stone, tumor, or other blockage with surgery.
Practice good oral hygiene to prevent acute parotitis.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Public Health Agency of Canada
Acute suppurative parotitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated June 28, 2018. Accessed July 18, 2018.
Cain A. Parotitis. Net Doctor website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated March 10, 2005. Accessed July 18, 2018.
Chitre VV, Premchandra DJ. Review: recurrent parotitis. Arch Dis Child. 1997;77(4):359-363.
Wilson KF, Meier JD, Ward PD. Salivary gland disorders. Am Fam Physician. 2014;9(11):882-888.
Last reviewed May 2018 by James Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 7/18/2018
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