Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 21, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963855 | Print ISBN: 9781412941860 | Online ISBN: 9781412963855| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Salivary Gland Disorders
Richard K. Ogden D.O., FACOFP, FAAFP
Salivary gland disorders encompass a broad range of conditions that can affect these supportive glands of the digestive tract. The salivary glands function is to manufacture and release saliva, which moistens and starts the digestive breakdown of ingested food. Saliva is a complex mixture of water and many different types of chemicals, which have diverse functions in addition to initiating digestion. Some of the functions of saliva are: anti-bacterial; anti-viral; anti-fungal; tissue protective; lubricating; re-mineralizing; digestion; and buffering. With this many needed biologic effects of saliva, it is not hard to imagine why disorders of the salivary glands can cause a multiplicity of problems. Disorders of the salivary glands will discussed in reference to four general areas: salivary stones (sialolithiasis); tumors (cancer and non-cancerous); autoimmune (the immune system attacking and destroying the salivary glands); and infections. There are three major salivary glands and many unnamed minor salivary glands. One of ...