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The Submaxillary Gland

Table of Contents
The Lungs
The Trachea
The Testes
The Submaxillary Gland
The Liver
The Stomach and Duodenum
The Blood
The Arteries and Veins
The Adipose Tissue
The Skin
The Pituitary Gland
The Pancreas
The Thyroid
The Kidney
The Spinal Cord
The Cerebellum
The Elastic Cartilage
The Bone
The Smooth Muscle
The Striated Muscle


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The submaxillary gland, also known as the submandibular gland, is found under the back of the mouth, where the lower jaw meets the neck. It works in conjunction with the parotid glands, found in front of the ear at the sides of the head, and the sublingual glands, found just above the submandibular glands, to commence the first step of digestion.
 The salivary glands secrete saliva, a digestive fluid made mostly of water, mucus, salivary amylase, and small amounts of lysozyme and antibodies which work to kill of bacteria.
The secretion of saliva is triggered in the nervous system by the presence of food. Nerve endings found in the mouth called chemoreceptors sense the presence of the chemicals in food, sending a message to the brain, which in turn stimulates the salivary glands. However, sometimes the mere smell, sight, or thought of food can cause the salivary glands to be activated. When food is not in the mouth, saliva is still secreted to keep the mouth from becoming dry.
The most important function of saliva is commencing the primary stages of chemical digestion. Salivary amylase combines with water to break down polysaccharides found in food into the smaller disaccharide maltose; this is known as hydrolysis. Saliva also softens and lubricates the food to facilitate passage down the esophagus, and prevent damage to its tissues. Finally, saliva dissolves the chemicals found in food, working with the taste buds to allow the food to be tasted