Salivary Glands

 The mouth also contains the salivary glands which are accessory digestive glands that produce a fluid secretion called saliva. Saliva functions as a solvent in cleansing the teeth and dissolving food particles so that they may be tasted. Saliva also contains starch-digesting enzymes and mucus, which lubricates the pharynx to facilitate swallowing. There are three major pairs of salivary glands. The largest of which is the parotid gland and is located anteriorly and inferiorly to the ear between the skin and the muscle of chewing, the masseter. The parotid duct carries its contents and drains into the mouth. It is the parotid gland that becomes swollen and infected with the mumps or parotitis. The submandibular gland is located inferiorly to the mandible or jawbone midway along the inner side of the jaw. It has a muscular covering and empties its contents by way of the submandibular duct into the floor of the mouth on both sides. The sublingual gland, as its name implies, lies under the floor of the mouth and on the side of the tongue. Each sublingual gland possesses several small sublingual ducts that empty into the floor of the mouth in an area posterior to the submandibular duct.

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