Salivary stones are cystallized minerals, composed of calcium salts, that forms in the salivary duct and causes obstruction. This obstruction can lead to pain, swelling and sometimes infection of the salivary glands.  This condition is medically known as Sialolithiasis.

Salivary stones form when bacterial staph infections, chronic dehydration or excessive amounts of calcium exist in the body that inhibit salivary gland functioning. This stones can grow large enough to block ducts and causes symptoms.

Some of the factors that increase the risk of developing this condition includes:

  • Certain Medications. Taking certain medications such as blood pressure drugs and antihistamines can reduce the amount of saliva produced by the glands.
  • Dehydration. This makes the saliva more concentrated.
  • Eating Less. Not eating enough food may decrease in saliva production.

Salivary stone obstruction, if not treated promptly, may lead to serious conditions such as a severe bacterial infection. This may require an intravenous administration of antibiotics or surgical drainage of blocked glands. Other conditions conducive to salivary stone are halitosis, tooth decay, gum disease and tonsil stones.

The main symptoms of salivary stones include:

  • Pain in the face, mouth, or neck especially after eating
  • Tenderness and swelling in the face, mouth, or neck
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Dry mouth

Other symptoms may include:

  • Odd, gritty or bitter taste of the saliva
  • Severe halitosis
  • Difficulty opening and closing the mouth



To diagnose salivary stones, the doctor will check if you have physical indication of swollen salivary glands and salivary duct stone. After the symptoms has been checked, he or she may order several tests to confirm diagnosis. Examples are X-ray, CT scan, Ultrasonography and Sialography.



Treatment for salivary stones may vary depending on the symptoms and complications. Some of the possible treatments are:

  • Home Remedy. The doctor or dentist may suggest sucking on sugar-free lemon drops and drinking a lot of water. The idea is to increase saliva production to be able to force the stones out of the duct. Another method of removing stones is by applying heat and gently massaging the affected area.
  • Medications. In case you can’t remove the stones at home, your doctor may suggest extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). This method may break the stones into smaller pieces so that it can pass through the ducts. Your doctor or dentist may recommend antibiotics in case there is a bacterial infection in the glands.
  • Surgery. Surgical operation may be needed if the stones are too large. Your doctor may also suggest removing your salivary gland if you continue to develop salivary duct stones or salivary gland infections. This could not be a problem since you have many other salivary glands.



Maintaining a sufficient flow of saliva is the best way to prevent the formation of salivary stones. Proper oral care is important to avoid infections and complications in the mouth.

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