Problems in mouth can be various and pain while eating is one of the most common ones. This pain can be either mild or excruciating and in many cases, decreases appetite and causes major discomfort during eating. There are in fact, a lot of risk factors that may cause difficulty eating, such as mouth sores, gum and dental problems, or other oral infections. Among these causes, pain in the salivary glands is one of the most uncomfortable ones.
Salivary glands in mouth
Salivary glands are glands located around the mouth regions, which have a role of regulating oral saliva. Three major salivary glands include the parotid, which is located near the upper teeth, submandibular, which is under the tongue, and the sublingual, which is located in the floor of the mouth. In addition to these three major glands, there are numerous other tiny glands located in the lips, inner cheeks, and all over the mouth linings. Saliva has crucial roles in providing sufficient moisture to the mouth, initiating digestion, and preventing tooth decay. Abnormalities of these salivary glands may lead to some mouth-related problems and difficulty eating and swallowing is one of those.
Why does my salivary glands hurt when I eat?
Abnormalities of the salivary glands may occur in several forms, including obstructions, inflammation, and infection. There are some symptoms and signs that indicate these abnormalities. Thus, your difficulty eating may be one symptom that shows the possibility of having one of this oral problems. If the pain specifically occurs on the salivary glands, there might be certain risk factor causing this painful sensation while swallowing or eating.
The most frequent risk factor leading to hurt salivary glands when eating is the formation of salivary gland stones, which is also referred as salivary calculi. Salivary gland stones may form and become lodged in the duct leading to salivary gland and thus, blocks the flow of saliva into the mouth. Blocked saliva glands, therefore, may swell and be painful. The size of these stones may be similar to kidney stones, which is approximately one centimeter in diameter.
Pain caused by the formation of salivary stones may be on and off, and may affect your throat, ear, and mouth while swallowing the saliva, drinking, or eating. This pain may be felt in one gland and eventually gets worse.
In addition to these salivary stones, pain during swallowing and eating may also be a result of an infection in the salivary glands. This infection is commonly triggered by thriving bacteria, which blocks the salivary glands leading to the mouth. When this salivary glands are infected, they will be swallowing, causing the appearance of chipmunk cheeks. Pain while eating is only one of the mildest symptom of this infection, which may lead to more severe ones, such as severe pain, high fever, and pus collection or abscess.
Other symptoms of salivary glands infection
In addition to pain when eating, salivary glands infection also trigger some other symptoms, such as:
- Bad taste in the mouth, which is caused by pus drainage from the blocked or infected salivary glands.
- Swelling and inflammation, not only on the affected salivary glands, but also the lymph nodes. These nodes might be tender as well.
- Temperature—or fever and severe headache occurring during the initial infection phase.
What can I do to relieve the pain?
Salivary stones and infection will trigger on and off painful sensation when you are using your mouth. These risk factors in fact, have a significant role in causing discomfort during these activities. In few cases, people are suffering from severe salivary stones problem that it needs to be surgically removed before the pain goes away completely. Despite this, milder cases of blocked salivary glands might be improved with simple procedure at home.
Sucking sliced lemon is one of the effective ways to dislodge the stone residing along the salivary duct on the mouth. Lemon contains citric acid, which can help break the stones down, so that the blocked saliva can be stimulate to re-flow along these blocked ducts. This needs to be done regularly. In addition to sucking sliced lemon, you can also make yourself a glass of lemon water that will give similar effects in any blocked salivary glands.