My son had a blocked salivary duct and I thought I’d share with you what it is, what it looks like and what we did about it!
Saliva is important because it keeps our mouth moist, helps with swallowing and protects our teeth. We produce about a quart of saliva every day. There are 3 major pairs of salivary glands in our mouth as well as several hundred minor glands through the mouth and throat. Saliva drains into our mouth through ducts that are kind of like small tubes. Sometimes there can be a buildup of crystallized saliva deposits that interferes with the drainage of saliva. Until the blockage can be cleared, you end up with an infected gland or duct. It causes swelling and pain, and sometimes there may even be drainage of foul-tasting pus in the mouth.
I took these pictures of my 6 year old, Cole. The night before at bedtime he started complaining that the side of his face hurt. There was no redness, swelling, lumps or bumps so I assumed, like any parent, that he was stalling bedtime! This is what he looked like the next morning (yes, I felt like a schmuck for not believing him). The pain was incredible and he was scared to eat because of the pain. We took him to our doctor immediately and she diagnosed him as having a blocked salivary duct. She prescribed an antibiotic and asked that we return for a follow up in 3 days. In the meantime, like any worried mother, I turned to Google and researched everything I could about this type of infection!
One thing I read was to try encouraging the saliva to flow and help the blockage clear up by sucking on sour candies. So, I went to Foodland and bought every sour hard candy that I could find. Cole was happy that I actually wanted him to suck on Jolly Ranchers for the day!
By dinner time he was still swollen but not as sore. By bedtime he was only a little sore and the swelling had started to go down. The next morning he woke up looking like his cute normal self. I never thought Jolly Ranchers could save the day!!
Blocked ducts and salivary stones can happen to people of all ages, including infants. Treatment includes warm compresses and getting to your doctor for an antibiotic…oh, and sour Jolly Ranchers!