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Any of the organs that secrete saliva. Three pairs of major glands secrete saliva into the mouth through distinct ducts: the parotid glands (the largest), between the ear and the back of the lower jaw; the submaxillary glands, along the side of the lower jaw; and the sublingual glands, in the floor of the mouth near the chin. There are also numerous small glands in the tongue, palate, lips, and cheeks. The presence, smell, or thought of food normally increases secretion.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on salivary gland, visit Britannica.com.