Parotitis is inflammation in one or both of the parotid glands. These are 2 large salivary glands that are inside each cheek over the jaw in front of each ear.
Parotitis can be:
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An inflamed parotid gland has several causes. These vary depending on whether the condition is acute or chronic. The most common causes include:
This condition is more common in older adults. Other factors that may increase your chance of parotitis include:
Acute parotitis may cause:
Chronic parotitis may cause:
Chronic parotitis can destroy the salivary glands.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. This may be enough to make a diagnosis. Tests may include a blood test and a fluid sample from the parotid gland.
Imaging tests evaluate the parotid gland and surrounding structures. These may include:
Treatment depends on what is causing the parotitis. Options may include:
Flossing once a day and thorough tooth brushing at least twice a day may help with healing. Warm salt-water rinses can help keep the mouth moist. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways you can quit.
Medications may include:
Your doctor may need to remove a stone, tumor, or other blockage. Increasing saliva flow may be all that is needed to remove a mucus plug.
To help reduce your chances of parotitis:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Public Health Agency of Canada
Acute suppurative parotitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 21, 2010. Accessed June 10, 2015.
Cain A. Parotitis. Net Doctor website. Available at: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/conditions/mouth-and-teeth/a3082/parotitis. Accessed June 10, 2015.
Chitre VV, Premchandra DJ. Review: recurrent parotitis. Arch Dis Child. 1997;77(4):359-363.
Wilson KF, Meier JD, Ward PD. Salivary gland disorders. Am Fam Physician. 2014;9(11):882-888.
Last reviewed May 2016 by David Horn, MD Last Updated: 5/11/2013