Parotid gland

Picture of the parotid gland

Illustration copyright 2000 by Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. http://www.nucleusinc.com

Parotid glands secrete saliva into the mouth. The saliva moistens the mouth to help a person chew and swallow food. Saliva also contains substances (enzymes) that begin the breakdown of food.

One parotid gland is located in front of and below each ear. The pair of parotid glands is the largest of the three main types of salivary glands.

Last Updated: August 18, 2009

Author: Maria Essig

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Howard Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology

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