Saliva supports eating and talking, flowing from the salivary glands of the mouth. Viruses, infections, and chemical changes to the makeup of saliva can lead to sialolithiasis, crystallized stones blocking the salivary ducts. Reduced saliva flow can also result in stone formation. Medications which cause “dry mouth” such as antihistamines or psychiatric drugs can have this effect. Dehydration from reduced fluid intake, sweating, or diarrhea can occur also. Limited eating can result in a reduction of saliva flow as well. Treatment to remove or dissolve stones should be accompanied by changes in the factors which may have led to them.
1. Symptom: Pain and Swelling
Face, neck, and mouth pain can indicate stones and possibly an associated infection. The pain and swelling will become worse as saliva flows in response to mealtime and is blocked by one or more stones. Swelling and tenderness near any of the three sets of salivary ducts particularly the lower set, trouble swallowing, and difficult jaw movement can be indications of stones as well. Pain in the face, neck, and mouth can have many origins including dental problems, nerve issues, and bone conditions. If salivary stones are not the source of the pain, further diagnosis is necessary.