The human organism contains several glands that secrete and release substances that serve for its proper functioning. The salivary glands are located near the oral cavity.
The salivary glands They are exocrine glands of the digestive system, that is, they are responsible for the secretion of saliva, which will then be poured into the oral cavity. This secretion helps to keep the mouth lubricated, to chew and to swallow food.
According to their size, the salivary glands are classified into two large groups:
- The major salivary glands. They are the main and most voluminous. There are three pairs:
- The parotid glands
- The submandibular glands
- The sublingual glands
- The minor salivary glands. They are small and there are 5 types: labial, palatal, genian, lingual and molar.
What is the parotid gland?
The parotid gland It is the largest salivary gland and one of the main glands. There are two parotid glands, each located on one side and the other side of the face.
This gland is located in front of the ear, in the lower part of the external auditory canal, behind the ascending ramus of the mandible and in front of the mastoid process, in the parotidomasterine region (near the masseter muscle). The parotid gland is closely related to the facial nerve.
The parotid gland has a pink color with a lobed surface and its weight ranges between 15 and 30 grams.
This gland has an excretory canal called the parotid duct or Stenon’s duct. The length of this duct is usually between about 15 to about 44 millimeters and its diameter is about 3 millimeters.. Through Stenon’s duct, the saliva produced in said gland is poured into the oral cavity. The papilla of this excretory duct is located in the jugal mucosa and is at the level of the upper first or second molar.
What is the parotid gland for?
The parotid gland serves primarily to produce saliva. Saliva is one of the most important secretions for the human being since it has substances such as proteins, carbohydrates, electrolytes, leukocytes, among others.
In addition, saliva has very important functions: it moistens and lubricates the oral cavity, it helps to maintain a good condition of the oral cavity. This function prevents damage to the soft mucous membranes of the mouth, reducing the risk of painful injuries and infections.
Also saliva is very important for swallowing, is mixed with the food that is ingested and helps to swallow it. Saliva is made up of amylase enzymes, which help break down food into simple substances so that they can be absorbed by the human body.
Finally, among other functions, saliva facilitates the dissolution of many substances, which is why it helps to taste the substances.
Thus, the parotid gland is one of the main salivary glands and is essential for the proper functioning of the oral cavity, thanks to the production of saliva.
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