Your salivary glands make as much as a quart of saliva each day. Saliva is important to lubricate your mouth, help with swallowing, protect your teeth against bacteria, and aid in the digestion of food.
The three major pairs of salivary glands are:
- parotid glands on the insides of the cheeks
- submandibular glands at the floor of the mouth
- sublingual glands under the tongue
There are also several hundred minor salivary glands throughout the mouth and throat. Saliva drains into the mouth through small tubes called ducts. When there is a problem with the salivary glands or ducts, you may have symptoms such as salivary gland swelling, dry mouth, pain, fever, and foul-tasting drainage into the mouth.