German Contact How to study Login Register

Register now and grab your free ultimate anatomy study guide!

Sidebar ebook trimmed

Sublingual Gland



The sublingual glands are the smallest of the three major pairs of salivary glands, since the salivary glands are divided into major and minor categories. The major glands are entire masses of secretory tissue with a single duct that connects the exocrine glands with the oral cavity, while the minor glands are individual exocrine glands that secrete directly into the oral cavity via their own individual ducts that are part of their makeup. This is where the sublingual glands, although classed as major glands, fall into both categories. They are collectives exocrine tissue masses, but they have many ducts that open in the area in which they are situated.

Sublingual gland


The sublingual glands lie bilaterally in the floor of the mouth and within the sublingual folds. They are bordered by the mandible anteroinferiorly and the genioglossus muscle posteroinferiorly. It is covered superiorly by the tongue. Numerous ducts can be seen secreting saliva along the margin of the sublingual folds.

Sublingual fold


In opposition to the parotid glands, the sublingual glands secrete entirely mucinous saliva, which accounts for approximately 3-4% of all saliva production.

Sublingual gland - histological slide


The nervous supply of the sublingual gland reflects that of the submandibular gland. It occurs via the chorda tympani, which carries fibers that originate from the facial nerve (CN VII) and are classed as secretomotor fibers.

Chorda tympani - lateral-left view

Blood Supply

There are two separate arterial supplies that contribute to the vascularisation of the sublingual gland, which are venously drained via their corresponding veins. The first is that of the lingual artery which branches into the sublingual artery.

Sublingual artery

The second is that of the facial artery which gives rise to the submental artery. The submandibular lymph nodes are responsible for draining the sublingual glands lymphatic region.

Submental artery

Clinical Aspects

There are several pathological disorders that can occur in both the minor and the major salivary glands. Since the sublingual glands have traits from both categories, they are most likely to be affected by a bacterial or viral infection. This can cause pain and a hard swelling in the gland that is infected.

Staphylococcus bacteria is the most common bacterial form of infection, while the viruses that can inhabit the salivary glands include the Cytomegalovirus (CMV), the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the Coxsackie virus and HIV. Treatment includes antibiotics or antivirals.

Get me the rest of this article for free
Create your account and you'll be able to see the rest of this article, plus videos and a quiz to help you memorize the information, all for free. You'll also get access to articles, videos, and quizzes about dozens of other anatomy systems.
Create your free account ➞
Show references


  • Neil S. Norton, Ph.D. and Frank H. Netter, MD, Netter’s Head and Neck Anatomy for Dentistry, 2nd Edition, Elsevier Saunders, Chapter 13 Oral Cavity, Page 366 to 371.
  • Frank H. Netter, MD, Atlas of Human Anatomy, Fifth Edition, Saunders - Elsevier, Chapter 1 Head and Neck, Subchapter 6 Oral Region, Guide Head and Neck: Oral Region - Salivary Glands, Page 35 and 36.
  • Salivary Gland Problems. WebMD LLC., accessed on 23/07/2014.


  • Dr. Alexandra Sieroslawska


  • Sublingual gland - Paul Kim
  • Sublingual fold - Paul Kim
  • Sublingual gland - histological slide - Smart In Media
  • Chorda tympani - lateral-left view - Paul Kim
  • Sublingual artery - Paul Kim
  • Submental artery - Paul Kim
© Unless stated otherwise, all content, including illustrations are exclusive property of Kenhub GmbH, and are protected by German and international copyright laws. All rights reserved.

Continue your learning

Article (You are here)
Other articles
Well done!

Register now and grab your free ultimate anatomy study guide!

Sidebar ebook trimmed
Create your free account.
Start learning anatomy in less than 60 seconds.