Share

What are the three salivary glands and where they are located

By Mary Smith. Updated: January 16, 2017
What are the three salivary glands and where they are located

The salivary glands, in various biological species, are exocrine glands in the upper digestive system that produce and discharge saliva into the oral cavity. Saliva is a colourless liquid that is aqueous or mucous like and contains proteins, glycoproteins, carbohydrates and electrolytes, desquamated epithelial cells and leukocytes. Its function, among others, is to start the digestion process by moistening food to aid in chewing and swallowing, and contains enzymes that begin the digestion of carbohydrates and fats. Here we explain what salivary glands are and how they work.

You may also be interested in: What are the Layers of Skin

Oral mucosa

The mucous membrane of the oral cavity, tongue and palate is studded with small individual glands that dampen surfaces and secrete a lubricating film of mucus.

These are the minor salivary glands, and there are three pairs of major salivary glands: parotid, submandibular and sublingual.

What are the three salivary glands and where they are located - Oral mucosa
Image: cuidatusaludcondiane.com

Parotid gland

The larger salivary gland is the parotid, located below the zygomatic arch, ahead of the mastoid and behind the ramus of the jaw. It relates to the main branches of the facial nerve. Within its substance the superficial temporal artery ascends. The secretion of the parotid gland is serous (fluid).

The parotid duct leaves the anterior angle of the salivary gland, crosses over the masseter muscle, pierces the buccinator muscle, and opens into the oral superior vestibule in front of the second upper molar.

What are the three salivary glands and where they are located - Parotid gland
Image: en.wikipedia.org

Submandibular gland

The sub-mandible gland in the oral cavity produces a mix of serous and mucous (viscose) salivary secretion, but is predominantly serous. It is within the mandibular angle. Its duct passes forward and inward, on the floor of the mouth, and opens to the side of the frenulum of the tongue.

Sublingual gland

The sublingual mouth is the smallest of the salivary glands. This gland, predominantly mucosa, is below the mucosa of the floor of the mouth. Its salivary secretion flows through several separate sublingual ducts opening in the sublingual fold.

If you want to read similar articles to What are the three salivary glands and where they are located, we recommend you visit our Learning category.

Write a comment about What are the three salivary glands and where they are located

What did you think of this article?
1 comment
Ramona
How to get saliva glands to produce more saliva

What are the three salivary glands and where they are located
Image: cuidatusaludcondiane.com
Image: en.wikipedia.org
1 of 3
What are the three salivary glands and where they are located

Back to top