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What Are Salivary Glands?

Salivary glands are glands with ducts that excrete saliva in the mouth. The saliva keeps the mouth moist & lubricated, hygienic, and aids in digestion.
The salivary glands are composed mainly of cell clusters called acini. Water, electrolytes, mucus and enzymes are excreted from these cells. These then flow through the ducts where composition of the fluid changes. Secretion is controlled by the automatic nervous system. Salivation is stimulated by the thought and smell of food, or the presence of a foreign body in the mouth.

There are many salivary glands namely: parotid glands, submandibular glands, sublingual gland, minor salivary glands in the oral cavity and Von Ebner’s glands. The parotid glands are found in the mandibular ramus and is the biggest of all the glands. It’s secretion is coursed through the Stensen’s duct. The submandibular glands are located beneath the lower jaws. This pair of glands produce most of the saliva secretions in the mouth through the Wharton’s ducts. The sublingual glands are located under the tongue. This gland supply about 5% of the saliva in the oral cavity via excretory ducts. This gland is called a mixed gland because it’s ductal system is not composed of striated ducts. The minor salivary glands is numerous and can be found all through out the oral cavity. They arenot encapsulated by connective tissues like the other glands but is instead surrounded by it. These glands may have it’s own excretory duct or share one with another gland. Denture problems are usually connected with the minor salivary glands.The Von Ebner’s glands are located in the circumvallate papillae of the tongue. They have something to do with taste.

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