Salivary glands

Three pairs of glands that secrete saliva, via ducts, into the mouth. The largest, the parotid glands, lie on each side of the jaw; the sublingual glands lie on the floor of the front of the mouth; and the submandibular glands lie near the back of the mouth. The parotid glands are commonly infected with the mumps virus. Stones may form in a salivary duct or gland. Poor oral hygiene may allow bacterial infection of the glands, sometimes leading to an abscess. Salivary gland tumours are rare, except for a type of parotid tumour that is slow-growing, noncancerous, and painless. Insufficient salivation causes a dry mouth (see mouth, dry) and may be due to dehydration or Sjögren’s syndrome, or it may occur as a side effect of certain drugs.


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