by Annie Stuart
Parotitis causes swelling in one or both of the parotid glands. These are two large salivary glands that sit inside each cheek over the jaw in front of each ear. Usually, the problem goes away by itself, but some cases require treatment. See your doctor if you have swelling or other symptoms in this part of your face.
A variety of factors can lead to an inflamed parotid gland. They include:
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
Discuss these risk factors with your doctor:
If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to parotitis. These symptoms may be caused by other health conditions. To determine the cause of your symptoms, see your doctor.
If parotitis recurs, it can cause severe swelling into the neck and can destroy the salivary glands.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. This may be enough to make a diagnosis. Tests may include:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:
Flossing and thorough tooth brushing at least twice a day may help with healing. Warm salt water rinses can help keep the mouth moist. It may also help if you quit smoking.
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 getting parotitis, take the following steps:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Library of Medicine
Public Health Agency of Canada
Cain A. Parotitis. Net Doctor website. Available at: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/diseases/facts/parotitis.htm . Updated April 10, 2005. Accessed November 10, 2010.
Chitre VV, Premchandra DJ. Review: recurrent parotitis. Arch Dis Child . 1997;77:359-363.
DynaMed Editorial Team. Acute suppurative parotitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated June 21, 2010. Accessed November 10, 2010.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 09/27/2012