Causes of Submandibular Gland Swelling
If you feel swelling underneath your lower jaw, it could be a swollen submandibular gland. Swollen submandibular glands are usually caused by tiny stones blocking the ducts that channel saliva into the mouth. According to the Merck Manual, these stones can develop from the salts in saliva, especially if a person is dehydrated. When a stone blocks a salivary gland, a condition known as sialolithiasis, an individual may experience swelling and pain over the affected gland. Why these stones form isn't clearly known, though they can be associated with liver disease and gout. According to The Journal of Medical Research, sialolithiasis is the most common salivary gland disease, and the submandibular gland is affected in 83 percent of cases.
Salivary gland infections can result from blocked ducts. In these cases, swelling of the gland may be accompanied by redness and pus.
More rarely, salivary gland swelling occurs due to a tumor. Merck Manuals explains that swelling caused by a cancerous or noncancerous tumor on the salivary glands may be firmer than swelling caused by an infection. A cancerous tumor will likely be very hard and fixed to the gland tissue, while a noncancerous tumor may be movable.
See your dentist to determine what's causing your submandibular gland swelling. They will help you put an effective treatment plan in place.