What causes a parotid gland infection?


Quick Answer

According to WebMD, a parotid gland infection arises when the duct in the mouth becomes blocked. This causes a bacterial infection, which includes a painful lump in the parotid gland and foul-tasting pus that drains into the mouth.

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Full Answer

As Drugs.com states, a parotid gland infection is also called sialadenitis. It commonly occurs in infants during the first few weeks of life and in elderly patients suffering from salivary gland stones. As WebMD states, untreated sialadenitis can lead to a high fever, as well as an abscess that leaks pus.

Healthline states that the mouth requires free passage of saliva to clear away bacteria, as saliva has antibacterial properties. When a blockage occurs in the parotid gland, there is less saliva passing through to combat bacteria. Bacteria accumulates naturally and as a result of food particles. Healthline also identifies some of the bacteria that cause parotid gland infections, which include E. coli, Streptococcus viridans, Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pyogenes.

In addition to blocked ducts reducing the flow of saliva, Healthline states that other conditions have the same effect. This includes mumps, influenza A, parainfluenza type 1, parainfluenza type 2, tumors and sarcoidosis. Dehydration, malnutrition and poor oral hygiene also cause sialadenitis.

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