Parotid gland

Side view of person's face, showing parotid gland in front of and slightly below ear.

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.

A parotid gland is located in front of and slightly below each ear. The two parotid glands are the largest of the three main types of salivary glands.

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