Salivary Glands – Function and What They Are

Salivary Glands - Function and What They Are

The salivary glands in various biological species are exocrine glands in the digestive system higher than produce saliva that discharge into the oral cavity. The saliva It is a colorless liquid with a watery or mucous consistency, which contains proteins, glycoproteins, carbohydrates and electrolytes, desquamated epithelial cells and leukocytes. Its function, among others, is to initiate digestion of food by moistening it to aid in the chewing and swallowing process, and it contains enzymes that begin the process of digestion of carbohydrates and fats. Here we explain what the salivary glands are and how they work.

The oral mucosa

The mucous membrane of the oral cavity, tongue and palate is studded with small individual glands that moisten the surfaces, and lubricate them by secreting a film of bugger.

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

The salivary glands - Function and what they are - The oral mucosa


Parotid gland

The largest salivary gland is the parotid, located below the zygomatic arch, in front of the mastoid process and behind the ramus of the mandible. It is related to the main branches of the facial nerve. Within its substance the superficial temporal artery ascends. The secretion of the parotid gland is of the serous (fluid) type.

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

Submandibular gland

The submandibular gland of the oral cavity it produces a mixed salivary discharge, serous and mucous (viscous) but predominantly serous. It is inside the mandibular angle. Its canal passes forward and inward, on the floor of the mouth, and opens next to the frenulum of the tongue.

Sublingual gland

The sublingual of the mouth it is the smallest of the salivary glands. This predominantly mucous gland is below the mucosa of the floor of the mouth. Its salivary secretion flows through several separate sublingual canals that open at the sublingual fold.

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