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The salivary glands within the head and neck secrete various enzymes useful for mastication and digestion. They can be divided into major and minor salivary glands.
Major salivary glands
The major salivary glands consist of the larger, paired salivary glands within the neck:
Minor salivary glands
There are up to 600 minor salivary glands located throughout the oral cavity within the lamina propria of the oral mucosa. They are 1-2 mm in diameter and are not encapsulated, unlike the major salivary glands. Instead, they are simply surrounded by connective tissue.
Deep salivary glands
Deep salivary glands are also known as von Ebner glands and are found within the circumvallate papillae of the tongue 1.
Tubarial salivary glands
In 2020, Valstar et al. 4 reported the discovery of previously overlooked salivary tissue in the nasopharynx. PSMA-positive, paired structures with mucous glands on histology were identified near the torus tubarius. These may explain radiotherapy-associated xerostomia.