The salivary glands are located around the mouth. They produce saliva, which moistens food to aid chewing and swallowing.
Saliva contains enzymes that begin the digestion process, and help cleanse the mouth by washing away bacteria and food particles. By keeping the mouth moist, saliva helps to keep dentures, retainers, or other orthodontic appliances in place.
There are three pairs of major salivary glands. The largest are the parotid glands, located in each cheek over the jaw in front of the ears. Two submandibular glands are at the back of the mouth on both sides of the jaw. There are many sublingual glands under the floor of the mouth.
All of the salivary glands empty saliva into the mouth through ducts that open at various locations in the mouth.