What functions are performed and the salivary glands ?

Written by: Dr.Prof. Francisco Hernández Altemir
Published: | Updated: 15/11/2018
Edited by: Top Doctors®

It is a very large, specialized organic formation, secretory of saliva , which maintains the lubrication and moisture of the mouth, prevents infections and caries, contains immunoglobulins, lysozymes and phosphatases in its mucous and serous secretion.

They are extensive surface disposition, preferably with function, like all these, minimum extrinsic drainage and fully intraoral (the so-called Minor Glands) and Six Major Glands, extraoral, with long evacuation ducts, are the pairs: Parotid, Submaxillary and Sublingual, all, prepared, for the secretion of different quantities and qualities of saliva, whose first destination is the oropharyngeal cavity, with its overall capacity of general local organic protection and prepare, the food bolus, in the first part of the digestive function.

The anatomofunctional universal drainage coincidence in the mouth, of all the referred glands, could allow us to speak of the real existence, perhaps, for the first time and still without Academic support, of what would be, in a similar way in a certain way, of the classic listed, of an extraordinary salivary gland, that among its shared multifunctions, would be by its almost purifying fluid, the global saliva, with its bactericidal, gustatory, chewing, digestive, parahormonal, immunological, analgesic, calcifying paradontal and general and protective properties of enamel, etc., and of course, the facilitator of the different capacities, to favor, the most complex and intimate human relationships, etc.. The one that would correspond to the Unitary, within the denominated Greater, the Seventh Gland, the Salivar Grande, located functionally, in the multipurpose oral cavity, with a skeletal and dental mucomuscular design, with all the excretory capacities, by the natural orifices: lips , nostrils and even exceptionally, the most distant orifices, the lacrimales. All, at facial and / or surface level and already, the most caudal and main drain, which would be, the one constituted, by the large upper aerodigestive path, corresponding to the multifunctional palato-glosso-pharyngeal space, to be more distally supraglottic, of mucosal and osteocartilaginous structure.

It seems that it can be deduced from what has been said that a meticulous intraoral exploration can give us an idea of ​​what may happen with the glandular state, in isolation and / or as a whole, to such an extent that it is still an indispensable clinical practice at the General and Specialized Medical level, making patients project the tongue out of the mouth and see, feel and feel their mobility, shape, color, degree of humidity, the paradontal and dental state and of course, the excretory capacities of the salivary ducts, of the Major, without underestimating the minor salivary: labial, genital, lingual and not worth looking at the gums, because they do not exist.

The visual, cultured and biochemical exploration of saliva should be a parameter of first-line research in routine patients and even more so in highly compromised patients, due to more or less serious systemic pathologies , as a complement to the manidas and essential, vital signs.


What disorders or pathologies can they present?

The salivary glands , it is clear, that are part of the "healthy individual", how of the suspected disease.

There are multiple pathologies that can influence them, both generic and / or systemic, as well as loco-regional, tumor, etc., we will cite some, so that the reader dares to discover and know about this, even in Online Medicine, why not?. Get in with the computer mouse, cell phone, etc., with Keywords, such as: dry mouth (xerostomia!), You can also see mucosal and cariosaparadontal pathology, halitosis, etc.. Salivary pathology can also occur in: Hematological Diseases, (Lymphomas), Sarcoidosis, Mixedema, Obesity, Alcoholism and Smoking, Diabetes, Uremia, in the antibiotic Decontrol (candidiasis) Infectious diseases, Virásicas, etc.

Syndrome disorders : Sjögren, Mikulicz and others. The use of psychotropic drugs can determine and / or even abolish to important extremes the production of saliva (asialia), with the serious subsidiary repercussions.

The salivary glands, even in situations of stress, can determine episodes of hyposialia, since they are neurologically related to the sympathetic-parasympathetic system, among others, through central-brain impulses.

I would look for, for example also: Mucoceles (usual in the Minors). Ránulas, in Sublinguales. Parotiditis, Sialadenitis, frequent Submaxilitis, these many times, true Submaxilolithiasis or with stones (especially, in the Median of the two Major, this is in general, in those of more weight and volume).

Tumors : The almost usual Pleomorphic adenomas (perhaps more in women and Parotid predominance) and Whartin's tumor (usually benign and more frequent in the Major), or Malignant: aggressive and infiltrating: Cystic adenoid carcinoma (Cilindroma) and Mucoepidermoides, Oral epidermoid carcinomas and many times of onset in the scalp, melanomas and other metastatic tumors of different surnames, etc.

To conclude, we do not want to mention the influence of traumatisms of different causes and ranges, in the pathology of the salivary glands , above all, of the major salivary glands. For not extending we will refer to those of the parotid, which not infrequently, can suffer in addition to important contusions, sections of their parenchymal structures and / or their drainage ducts, giving rise to fistulas that require very complex reconstructive surgeries, being sometimes associated with lesions of the vasculonerviosas formations of the region and here, the partial or total section of the branches of the facial nerve, can be determinants of facial mimicry and thus, we have seen repeated throughout our assistance activity, sections of this type, caused by the radials used in construction and other works and / or those derived from traffic accidents etc.


What symptoms does it present? What should the patient look at?

They are very varied, since the salivary glands extend inside and outside the oral cavity and their pathology is polyvalent, as we saw above and that we should not repeat here.

If the discomfort is intraoral, it should be reason to be on alert, to perceive how your mouth feels and especially its mucous membranes, perceiving its degree of humidity and texture, watching the appearance of spots, ulcers, etc., that in short terms from 10 to 15, days do not disappear or heal and if above all, if it is, smoker and drinker or have consumption habits not recommended (drug addiction) and that already at this point of the information, are more than repetitive.

It is difficult that there is someone today, in a more or less normalized environment, who does not know how to take care of each one. What it is, healthy and what is not and the responsibility that we have and we owe, in taking care of ourselves first and of course, throughout life.

Healthy life is cheaper for everyone than neglected and even less boring. The intelligent person, has on the Internet, everything you can ask, to be well informed and for how to take care of health, is undoubtedly one of the best ways to take advantage of the mobile.


How are the different pathologies treated?

The most frequent, drinking enough water and breathing through the nose , eating fruits and vegetables , avoiding contaminated environments and unhealthy practices (tobacco, alcohol, drugs) and of course, with simple oral hygiene.

We refer to mucositis , due to dry mouth, more or less permanent, seasonal, catarrhal, etc.. Avoiding in the same way, aggressive rinsing, with oral pH-modifying substances and not tormenting the flora, with them, and / or the use of antibiotics indiscriminately.

Do not eat too cold or hot and do not moisten the dry and external part of the lips , wetting them with the tongue (the cutaneous mucous part of the lips, should remain dry, by system). If your lips do not occlude or it costs effort and worry to keep them closed and usually exposes the teeth or snoring, go to a specialist in the Oral and Maxillofacial territory, there is a saying, in this respect, that it is very important to follow in daily life and is the that says: In closed mouth, flies do not enter !.

The rest of the more important pathologies, such as Sialadenitis, such as Parotiditis and Submaxilitis, require solvent Medical support in the subject.

In the same way, due to the presence of painful lumps or not and always also, if anomalous symptoms appear in the face and neck (anesthesia or paresthesia) and facial mimicry disorders. Worry, too, at any symptom in the territory we are talking about, if you have unhealthy dependencies, which you already know, which are. Avoid the impact of the sun and hydrate well and clear protect your skin and / or theirs, especially with common sense, you will save a paste.


Is cancer of the salivary glands frequent and serious?

If it is frequent, for what it should be and without a doubt, it is a very serious condition, whose best treatment is, once again in the Prevention. If the problem arises, very aggressive surgeries are usually required, often associated with Chemo and Radiotherapy.

The sequelae of surgeries, due to their radical nature, make it necessary to sacrifice in these cases structures of great functional significance, such as inability to close the eyelids and effectively occlude the labial closure , which makes chewing and swallowing difficult.

However, complex surgeries sometimes, microsurgical, supported by the concomitant therapies mentioned, can control the disease in many cases.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr.Prof. Francisco Hernández Altemir
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Eminence internationally in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Prof. Dr. Francisco Hernandez Altemir is also Medical Stomatologist, Doctor of Medicine and Surgery, Founding Member of the European Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, founder of the specialty of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in the Aragonese Community and Assistant Professor Extraordinary at the University of Zaragoza. Pioneer cephalometric and panoramic radiography in Spain, with reference to these techniques has numerous technology patents scientific contributions such as vibrating ultrasonic surgical instruments, cardiac massage instruments, surgical gloves, face mask, etc.


Special meaning in the Medical-Surgical and environment would be meant as applied universally, among others (you) your work and surgical techniques, Transcraneofaciales Access to the Skull Base and adjacent structures for exploration and / or extirpation of tumors and / or pathologies, hitherto inaccessible rarely, if not through mutilation by this fact, became unthinkable. Also note, how was impeller, diffuser and creator of techniques on the management of the airway as intubation Nasotracheal low fibroscopy and more recently endotracheal intubation by Via Submental that is preventing many tracheostomy, making it well means facilitate patient comfort and enhance the activity of Oral Surgery and Head and Neck.




*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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