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Submandibular Gland

The submandibular gland is one of the three types of glands which supply the mouth with saliva. The other two types of salivary glands are the parotid gland and the sublingual. Saliva plays an important role in chewing, digesting food and preventing tooth decay. Problems with the salivary gland can lead to a serious effect on oral health.

Location of Submandibular Gland

The submandibular glands are located on each side of the face, just beneath and in front of the lower jaw at the back of the mouth. Saliva travels from the glands in tubes called ducts that emerge on the underside of the tongue where it joins the mouth.

Function of the Submandibular Gland

The submandibular gland and the other salivary glands are important for the digestion and for maintaining a healthy mouth. Saliva contains enzymes which break down food before it passes to the stomach. It also moistens food so that it easily slips down the esophagus. In addition to this, saliva contains minerals which reduce the levels of harmful acids in the mouth. Without this, the acids usually eat away at tooth enamel and cause cavities.

Complications of the Submandibular Gland

Complications which can occur in the submandibular gland include blockage, infection, tumors and enlargement. Stones can form in the gland and prevent saliva from being released, thereby causing swelling and pain. The symptoms and signs of a blocked gland usually appear when drinking and eating. When a gland is blocked, bacteria can grow in the retained saliva causing an infection which can migrate to the submandibular glands from the infected lymph nodes.

Benign and malignant tumors can sometimes develop in the submandibular glands appearing as swellings or enlarged areas. Other causes of enlarged submandibular glands include diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and alcoholism.

Next Step

At King’s College Hospital Dubai, we focus on offering an exemplary service from initial consultation through to the final diagnosis and treatment and beyond. Our team of expert doctors and nurses are here to offer tailored management and treatment of your condition, and to answer any questions that you might have throughout your time with us. Whatever you need us for, we’re only a phone-call away.

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