Most parotid gland infections cannot be prevented, according to Healthline. People can minimize the risk of developing infections by drinking sufficient fluids and practicing proper oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing teeth at least twice daily.
The parotid glands are the largest major salivary glands and are located inside the cheeks above the jaw in front of the ears, states Healthline. Parotitis is a bacterial or viral infection of one or both of the parotid glands, typically caused by diminished saliva flow or the blockage or inflammation of a salivary duct. When saliva does not efficiently flush bacteria and food particles from the mouth, infection frequently develops.
Bacterial infections, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus viridans and Escherichia coli, are responsible for most cases of parotits, asserts Healthline. Viral infections causing reduced saliva production include mumps, HIV, herpes, influenza A and parainfluenza types I and II. Other conditions that interfere with saliva production include alcoholism, dehydration, malnutrition and bulimia. Mucous or crystallized minerals can also block salivary ducts, reducing saliva production and resulting in infection.
Treatment of parotitis varies in relation to the severity, symptoms and underlying cause of the infection, reports Healthline. Doctors usually treat bacterial infections with antibiotics. If an untreated infection forms an abscess, a physician may use fine needle aspiration to drain pus from the abscess.