HistologyThe glands are enclosed in a capsule of connective tissue and internally divided into lobules. Blood vessels and nerves enter the glands at the hilum and gradually branch out into the lobules.
DuctsIn the duct system, the lumina are formed by intercalated ducts, which in turn join to form striated ducts. These drain into ducts situated between the lobes of the gland (called interlobar ducts or secretory ducts).
All of the human salivary glands terminate in the mouth, where the saliva proceeds to aid in digestion. The saliva that salivary glands release is quickly inactivated in the stomach by the acid that is present there.
Parotid glandsThe parotid gland is the largest salivary gland and is found wrapped around the mandibular ramus. The secretion produced is mainly serous in nature and enters the oral cavity via Stensen's duct.
Submandibular glandsThe submandibular glands are a pair of glands located beneath the lower jaws, superior to the digastric muscles. The secretion produced is a mixture of both serous fluid and mucus, and enters the oral cavity via Wharton's ducts. Approximately 70% of saliva in the oral cavity is produced by the submandibular glands, even though they are much smaller than the parotid glands.
Sublingual glandThe sublingual glands are a pair of glands located beneath the tongue to the submandibular glands. The secretion produced is mainly mucous in nature, however it is categorized as a mixed gland. Unlike the other two major glands, the ductal system of the sublingual glands do not have striated ducts, and exit from 8-20 excretory ducts. Approximately 5% of saliva entering the oral cavity come from these glands.