Salivary gland infections affect the glands that produce spit (saliva). The infection may be due to bacteria or viruses.
There are 3 pairs of major salivary glands:
- Parotid glands: These are the 2 largest glands. One is located in each cheek over the jaw in front of the ears. Inflammation of 1 or more of these glands is called parotitis, or parotiditis.
- Submandibular glands: These 2 glands are located just under both sides of the lower jaw and carry saliva up to the floor of the mouth under the tongue.
- Sublingual glands: These 2 glands are located just under the front most area of the floor of the mouth.
All of the salivary glands empty saliva into the mouth. The saliva enters the mouth through ducts that open into the mouth in different places.
Salivary gland infections are somewhat common, and they can return in some people.
Viral infections such as mumps often affect the salivary glands. (Mumps most often involves the parotid salivary gland). Mumps is a rare problem today because of the MMR vaccine.
Bacterial infections are most often the result of a: