The salivary glands (latin: glandulae salivariae) are several exocrine glands located within the tissue of the oral cavity region. The salivary glands produce a watery substance called saliva, which contributes to the digestion of food and the
The saliva is produced in the mouth by the salivary glands contains such components as water, mucus, electrolytes, antibacterial substances, enzymes among others. The main functions of the saliva include breaking down some components of the food, lubricating and wetting ingested food, contributing to the initiation of swallowing, protecting the upper alimentary tract mucosa, as well as protecting the teeth from bacterial decay.
The salivary glands can be categorized into two groups: the major and minor salivary glands.
There are three pairs of major salivary glands, which are the following:
- parotid gland,
- submandibular gland,
- sublingual gland.
There are also numerous minor salivary glands embedded in the mucosa of the oral cavity, composing the following sets of glands:
- labial glands,
- buccal glands,
- palatine glands,
- molar glands,
- lingual glands.