Swollen and Blocked Salivary Glands ---
Causes and Cures
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March 24, 2011, last updated May 4, 2016

By Susan Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

Jaw swollen on one side? It could be due to blocked
salivary glands. The salivary glands --- also called the
parotid salivary glands --- are located on the side of your
face just behind your jaw line and below your ears. These
are the glands that become swollen when you have mumps.
However, because mumps has been all but eradicated by
the mumps vaccine, in most adults and children, swelling of
the parotid salivary glands has nothing to do with mumps.

In most cases of blocked salivary glands, the blockage is
causes by tiny stones. Is there any way to help to get rid of
the salivary duct stones naturally? Can they be dissolved by
certain foods, drinks or herbs? In other words, are there
any natural remedies for blocked salivary glands? Do
certain foods or drinks make the stones worse?

What Causes Jaw Swelling from Salivary Glands?

Salivary glands are responsible for producing saliva to your
mouth, in preparation for eating and just to maintain a
sanitary dental environment.

In fact, one of the best clues that your salivary glands are
the cause of your swollen jaw is that you notice it around
the time of your meal.  Salivary glands can become blocked
by tiny little stones. When one of these tiny stones blocks
your salivary glands, the side of your face with that
particular gland swells. That's why you develop a swollen
jaw on only one side.

Of course, there are other, rarer causes of swelling on only
one side of your jaw. You could have infected the salivary
glands on only one side of your face, though this is hard to
do. If you develop a fever as well as swelling on one side
of your face, consult a doctor, to make sure that the
infection is not serious. In the meantime, keep your mouth
as sanitary as possible.

What Are Salivary Stones Made Of?

Salivary gland stones are actually crystals. These tiny
crystals are made up of the same substance as your saliva
(spit). Saliva itself consists of water, fat and other

A 1983 study led by Drs. Slomiany and Murty of the New
York Medical College and Columbia University’s Department
of Dental and Oral Surgery analyzed the composition of
parotid salivary stones in detail. They found that the
crystals are made up of lipids, cholesterol esters and free
fatty acids. Lipids are molecular substances such as oils,
cholesterols and waxes which occur naturally in your body
and which do not dissolve in water. Of the total lipids
present in salivary duct stones, they consist of mostly free
fatty acids (52%) and cholesterol esters (31% by weight).

Natural Remedies for Blocked Salivary Glands

1.        Manipulation of Your Jaw. Your dentist may be able
to move the stones by manipulating your jaw at the right
place. This is most effective for tiny stones.

Drink more water. Drinking more water may
temporarily make the swelling worse but over time it helps
to flush out the stones.

Lemons. Lemons can help to unblock salivary
glands. Lemons, limes and other citrus fruits help to
stimulate the salivary glands and flush the stones out. Best
drink to help is lemonade which provides both the lemon
and the water you need to move the crystals along.

Sour candy. Works on the same principle as the
lemons. Sour candy stimulates the salivary glands to
produce saliva, which in turn moves the stones along .

Give Up Carbonated Soft Drinks. Carbonated soft
drinks change your saliva. A 2003 study the Department of
Dentistry of the University of Buenos Aires from found that
soft drinks alter your saliva’s pH (acid) levels and the
amount of saliva you produce. And citric acid (lemons) can
help to resolve salivary stones. Although the study only
examined children, there is no reason to believe the same
profile would be found in adults who drink soft drinks.
Altered flow rates, as we have seen from other studies, can
affect the development of salivary duct stones.

Take Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can
reduce salivary stones.  Omega-3 fatty acids actually lower
the levels of triglycerides in your body, which robs salivary
stones of one of their main building blocks.

The particular fatty acids responsible for lowering
triglycerides are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid  )and DHA
(docosahexaenoic acid).

Omega-3 fatty acids are found naturally in certain fish
(salmon, sardines, halibut) and nuts such as walnuts.

How much fish oil should you take to lower triglycerides?
According to a 2007 report from Virginia Commonwealth
University, School of Pharmacy, taking 4 grams daily of
omega -3 fatty acids reduces triglyceride levels by 45% and
cholesterol levels by 50%.

Lowering levels by this amount will rob the salivary stones
of the lipids they need to grow.

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