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What Are Sublingual Glands?

A drop in saliva production during sleep lead to bad breath.
Saliva helps break down starchy food as it is being chewed.
The sublingual glands are located on both sides of the mouth, just below the tongue.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2014
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Also known as the salivary glands, sublingual glands are the glands that produce mucin and help promote the production of saliva. The sublingual salivary glands are located on both sides of the mouth, just under the tongue and embedded in the mucous membrane of the mouth’s floor. Because of the secretions of the glands, the interior area of the mouth is kept lubricated, which is necessary for chewing and swallowing food.

The lubrication and binding functions of the sublingual glands cannot be underestimated. Secretions from the glands mix with food as it is chewed, making the material slippery and easily swallowed. Because of the saliva content of the masticated food, it can move without difficulty into the throat and on to the digestive tract. Low levels of saliva production can make the process of swallowing much more difficult and will increase the potential for food to lodge in the throat.

Along with providing lubrication, the produce of the sublingual glands also aids in the promotion of good oral hygiene. During the waking hours, saliva production helps to dislodge small particles of food, allowing them to be swallowed. As a result, the mouth is kept cleaner as well as properly lubricated.

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While the sublingual glands are very active during the waking hours, their production of saliva decreases slightly while the individual is asleep. This helps to account for the dry mouth and bad breath that many people experience when waking in the morning. By brushing the teeth and swishing a small amount of water in the mouth, the dryness and the bad breath are banished. At the same time, the glands begin to increase saliva production once again, in preparation for the coming day.

The production of the sublingual glands also aids in the process of digesting starches. Saliva helps to break down starches even as the food is being chewed. This helps to hasten the conversion of starch into maltose, allowing the body to absorb the nutrients from the starchy food with greater ease.

As with any part of the body, it is possible for the sublingual glands to become infected. Often, the infection manifests as swelling that is very painful and inhibits the ability of the glands to produce saliva. Swollen sublingual glands can usually be treated effectively with the use of antibiotics. Changes in diet can sometimes also help alleviate some of the pain associated with sublingual gland swelling. When a swollen sublingual gland is first detected, prompt medical treatment will make it possible to correct the problem quickly and alleviate any long-term pain.

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andee
Post 4

I remember my mom always telling us to slow down when we were eating and chew our food. Now I realize she was right, and there are several benefits of doing this.

The saliva that is produced by your sublingual glands really go a long way towards helping to digest your food.

If you gulp down your food without chewing it, your body has a harder time digesting this. This can lead to an upset stomach.

It also means you eat more because you don't feel full as soon. One of the best ways to control your weight is to chew your food and eat slowly.

Who would have thought that your salivary glands also play a role in maintaining your weight?

honeybees
Post 3

One of the first things I do in the morning when I get up is brush my teeth. I hate that feeling of a dry mouth and morning breath. For me, this works better than coffee at waking me up and feeling refreshed.

Before reading this article I never thought about why the mouth becomes so dry at night. It makes sense that your salivary glands would not be as active since you are not eating any food.

I keep a glass of water beside my bed at night. If I get up in the middle of the night, I like to have something to keep my mouth from feeling so dry.

LisaLou
Post 2

@golf07 - I have been diagnosed with sublingual gland inflammation before and can understand how you feel.

My doctor felt like an infection was coming on, so he treated it with antibiotics. He also told me to make sure I drink plenty of water during the day.

By keeping my mouth and salivary glands hydrated, it can make a difference. I had never thought about the benefits of drinking water to include healthy salivary glands.

They also say that a dry mouth is one of the last signs that you are dehydrated. I keep a glass of water on my desk all day long as a reminder to drink water all through the day.

It seems like if I wait too long, it takes awhile for my mouth to feel hydrated and clean again.

golf07
Post 1

Knowing how your salivary glands work is something I don't think much about until they stop working the way they are supposed to.

There are times I get a really dry mouth, and find I have a hard time chewing and swallowing my food. I don't think my glands have ever been infected, but there are times when I find it hard to swallow food.

This also reminds me of a contest we would have when we were kids. We would all eat a mouthful of crackers and see who could be the first one to whistle a tune.

If you have every tried to whistle with a dry mouth, it is almost impossible.

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