The Sublingual Gland: Functions and Concerns

The human body has numerous parts and functions that people rely on daily without giving much thought to how they work. For example, lick your lips and you immediately recognize the presence of saliva. But what exactly is saliva, how is it produced, and what role does it play in keeping your mouth healthy? That's where the sublingual gland comes in.

Saliva and the Salivary Glands

Saliva is a liquid that contains minerals that work to lower your mouth's acid level. That in turn prevents cavity formation and enamel wear. Saliva also lubricates food as you chew it to help the food pass from your esophagus to your stomach. You create saliva in three major salivary glands found on the palate, cheeks and mouth floor. Those three glands are the parotid, the submandibular and the sublingual glands.

Sublingual Gland

The third type of the three major salivary glands is the sublingual. Notes the National Institutes of Health, you have two sublingual glands, one on each side of the front-most part of mouth's floor. These glands produce only 5 percent of the mouth's saliva supply, according to Cedars-Sinai.

Salivary Glands: Issues and Concerns

Your sublingual glands can have health issues along with your other salivary glands. Here are some of the more common ones and how to treat them.

Salivary stones result from a calcium buildup in the duct of a salivary gland and block the release of saliva into the mouth. Salivary stones occur in the submandibular gland 87 percent of the time, but they can also affect the parotid and the sublingual glands, calculates a study in the European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology. Treatment depends on a few factors. Small stones can be treated by using warm compress and drinking more water. Larger stones need to be removed by a dental professional.

Sialadenitis is an inflamed salivary gland caused by a virus or bacteria, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The condition mostly occurs in the parotid or submandibular glands. Some symptoms include decreased saliva flow, inflamed salivary glands and dry mouth. Treatment options include antibiotics, gland massages, consuming lemon juice and sucking hard candy. Surgery might be necessary in some cases.

Sjogren's syndrome is an immune disorder that may affect your salivary glands. Symptoms include swollen salivary glands, dry mouth, dry eyes, skin rashes, and joint pain and swelling, explains the Mayo Clinic. Treatment options include prescription medications to treat certain aspects of the disease. In some cases, tear duct surgery is necessary.

A healthy mouth is an essential part of a person's overall health. The foundation for good oral care starts with brushing at least twice a day followed by flossing to reach those spots a toothbrush can't. Try rinsing with Colgate Total Daily Repair mouthwash, which restores natural calcium and repairs weakened enamel. Regular cleanings by your dentist are recommended, as well.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

More Articles You May Like

What Are The Different Parts Of A Tooth?

Each tooth has several distinct parts; here is an overview of each part:

  • Enamel – this is the outer and hardest part of the tooth that has the most mineralized tissue in the body. It can be damaged by decay if teeth are not cared for properly.

  • Dentin – this is the layer of the tooth under the enamel. If decay makes it through the enamel, it next attacks the dentin — where millions of tiny tubes lead directly to the dental pulp.

  • Pulp – this is the soft tissue found in the center of all teeth, where the nerve tissue and blood vessels are located. If tooth decay reaches the pulp, you usually feel pain and may require a root canal procedure.