Salivary Gland Pathology

There are 3 paired chief salivary glands in humans (the parotid gland, the submandibular gland, and the sublingual gland), as well as about 800-1000 insignificant salivary glands in the oral mucosa of the mouth. The parotid gland is located in front of the ear, and it secretes its ordinarily serous saliva via the parotid duct (Stenson duct) into the mouth, usually opening unevenly opposite the maxillary second molar. The submandibular gland is placed medial to the angle of the mandible, and it drains its mixture of serous and mucous saliva via the submandibular duct (Wharton duct) into the mouth, commonly opening in a punctum located in the bottom of mouth. The sublingual gland is situated below the tongue, in the floor of the mouth. It drains its typically mucous saliva into the mouth via about 8-20 ducts which open beside the plica sublingualis (a fold of tissue under the tongue).

The function of the salivary glands is to secrete saliva, which has a lubricating purpose, which protects the oral mucosa of the mouth through eating and speaking.Saliva also contains digestive enzymes (e.g. salivary amylase) and has antimicrobial action and turns as a buffer. Persons with reduced salivary flow or hyposalivation repeatedly suffer from dry mouth or xerostomia, which can result in severe dental caries (tooth decay) as a end of the loss of the protective effects of saliva.