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(Friday, 19th Sep, 2014)

Swollen glands - under jawbone

I am experiencing pain and tenderness in the left hand side of the neck just under the end of my jawbone. Could this be a gland problem?

Tender swellings under the jaw are usually due to inflamed glands. The inflammation is usually due to the presence of infection in the head and neck region. This could be a dental infection, ear infection, throat infection or a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. There are two categories of gland in the neck, the lymph glands and the salivary glands. The lymph glands are part of the body’s immune system and they enlarge as part of the body’s response to the presence of infection. This is a normal reaction and indicates that the body is defending itself against the invading bacteria or viruses. The salivary glands produce saliva, which moistens our food and triggers the first step in the process of digestion by dissolving the sugars in our food. These glands can become infected or can sometimes swell up due to the presence of a small stone in the tubing system of the gland. Mumps is an infection of the parotid glands, which are the salivary glands located in front of the ears. Swollen lymph glands usually revert to normal size after the infection has subsided. Persistent painless swellings in the neck should always be medically assessed.

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