Saturday, April 25, 2015

Tonsil Stones: Causes, Treatment Options and Some Prevention Tips

Even though they aren’t very common, tonsil stones can be troublesome for people that are suffering from them. They are irritating as they leave a foul taste and odor in the victim’s mouth. In addition, tonsil stones cause a great deal of discomfort. Read the paragraphs below to learn what tonsil stones are, what causes them and how one can get rid of them. (

What Are Tonsil Stones? 

Tonsil stones (tonsilloliths) are small white lumps that appear on tonsils. Tonsils are 2 masses of lymphoid tissue which are located on each side of the throat’s back. They are essentially part of the human body’s immune system. When microorganisms (or pathogens) such as bacteria or viruses try to evade the oral cavity through ingested foods or inhaled air, they are absorbed (or trapped) by the tonsils to prevent them from entering further inside the body. When dead cells, mucus and/or bacteria get trapped inside the pockets/crypts of tonsils, they may harden to form tonsil stones. 

Causes of Tonsil Stones 

This condition can be caused by one or a combination of the following: 

• Dead white blood cells (WBC). 

• Oral bacteria. 

• Secretion of mucus. 

• Overactive salivary glands. 

• Residual of enzyme action on the retained food. 

• Smoking without a filter. 


Below are some of the symptoms that are experienced by a person with tonsil stones. 

• Sore throat. 

• Swollen tonsils. 

• Solid white lumps at the back of the throat. 

• Halitosis or bad breath. 

• Hard time swallowing. 

• Ear pain. 

How to Get Rid Of Tonsil Stones 

i. Using the Cotton Swab Method 

Soak the cotton swab in water. While standing in front of a mirror, use a small flashlight to look into your throat’s back. Now, use the cotton swab to press against the bottommost point of the tonsil and push it upwards. Applying pressure on the tonsils helps to squeeze the stones out. Make sure you do not push the stones further into the crypts. After getting rid of the stones, rinse & gargle using an antibacterial mouthwash. 

ii. Using the Waterpik Irrigator 

The Waterpik irrigator injects a jet of water spray into the mouth. You can direct the spray into the crypt which contains the stones using the tongue attachment. The irrigator also needs to be turned to its lowest setting. At this moment, fill the irrigator’s reservoir with lukewarm water. Stand in front of the mirror with your mouth opened wide and locate the stones using a flash light. Flush out the stones using pulsating water by irrigating the crypts with water. After getting rid of the stones, rinse your mouth using antibacterial mouthwash. At times, surfaced tonsilloliths may also be effectively removed by brushing using a toothbrush. Furthermore, gargle using salty water and drink plenty of water. 

iii. The Surgical Method 

When the occurrence of tonsil stones is frequent and the symptoms are extreme, the doctor may recommend a surgery known as “laser cryptolysis”. This technique involves vaporizing and getting rid of surface f tonsils using a scanned carbon dioxide laser. During the surgery, the edges of the crypts which collect the debris are flattened out. 

The last option is only performed in extreme cases and it is called tonsillectomy. Tonsillectomy involves removal of the tonsil tissues. Removing these organs should be the last option as they are an essential part of the immune system. Removing these tissues is also not recommended for children. 

How to Prevent Tonsil Stones 

• Brush and floss on a regular basis. 

• Rinse your mouth using non-alcoholic mouthwash. 

• Avoid foods which cause too much mucus. 


In case you start experiencing mild symptoms of tonsil stones, you can use the above treatment methods and prevention tips to deal with the problem. However, if you have get severe symptoms, seek for medical help as soon as possible.


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