Did you ever hear about tonsil stones, these hard little white or yellow formations? They are located in or within the tonsils, and despite being quite annoying, they are not very dangerous. Tonsil stones vary in size, from a grain of rice-sized to a large bunch. Though small tonsil stones do not often cause big health problems, if they grow larger, they can cause your tonsils to swell and have an unpleasant odor. Therefore, here is the information that you need, should you want to prevent those pesky tonsil stones from ever appearing in the back of your throat.
What are the causes of Tonsil Stones?
Tonsil stones are formed when different types of debris like dead cells, saliva, and food get trapped near tonsils. As time passes by, the debris will harden and eventually become tonsil stones. They will appear as white or yellow hard masses. What’s interesting to know is that tonsil stones will develop in size when bacteria and other debris get trapped in tiny crevices near or on the tonsils. Some people just get one tonsil stone once in a while, while others have many all the time.
What are the Symptoms of tonsil stones?
Even though Tonsil stones are said to be a common illness and the small ones may not cause any symptoms, they can be painful if they are left untreated. Mostly, the symptoms of tonsil stones are as follows:
- having bad breath,
- sore throat,
- trouble swallowing,
- ear pain,
- ongoing cough,
- swollen tonsils,
- white and yellow debris on the tonsil.
Since Tonsil stones are commonly found in infants and children, the symptoms might include drooling, vomiting, and Loss of appetite.
Complications of Having Tonsil Stones
Even though tonsil stones are harmless and pretty common to have, they can cause many complications, especially in your dental health. For example, if you do not brush your teeth or floss regularly, your mouth will be the source of bacteria and will be more vulnerable to tonsil stones. Also, the same type of bacteria that causes tonsil stones can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections. Sometimes, they literally become a breeding ground for bacteria which can cause cavities and painful gum diseases.
How to Prevent Tonsil Stones?
Don’t worry, like mentioned earlier, tonsil stones are pretty common. That said, here are a few steps that you might want to consider preventing tonsil stones:
- It is important to clean your hands regularly before having meals.
- Avoid touching your nose or lips with dirty hands
- Change your toothpaste tube at least every three months and keep its cap clean.
- Practice good oral hygiene, such as cleaning the bacteria off the back of your tongue when you brush your teeth.
- Gargle your mouth after meals to prevent food from building up around the tonsils
- Brush and floss your teeth regularly.
- Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated.
How to Remove Tonsil Stones?
If you have small tonsil stones, you can treat them at home. However, if you have a lot of them and that your symptoms are getting serious, here are the top suggested treatments to get rid of them:
- Tonsillectomy; this surgery is performed to remove infected tonsils. The procedure may be operated using a scalpel, laser, or coblation device. This treatment would be suggested by the doctors if the tonsil stones are severe.
- Laser tonsil cryptolysis; this operation uses a laser to remove the crypts where tonsil stones usually are. It is performed by using anesthesia on the patient first.
- Coblation cryptolysis; for this operation, radio waves are used to transform a salty solution into charged ions that can cut through tissues. This surgery will reduce the tonsil crypts but without any burning sensation.
- Antibiotics; are used to control tonsil stones in some cases. They can lower the number of bacteria which are the cause of tonsil stones’ development and growth. However, antibiotics will not completely treat the hidden cause of the stones. Also, they should not be taken on a long-term basis, which unfortunately also means that the tonsil stones are most likely gonna come back if you stop taking the antibiotics.
How to Remove Tonsil Stones at home?
If you think you may have some tonsil stones in the back of your throat, don’t panic! Here are some of the best home remedies to dissolve tonsil stones at home:
- Due to the antibacterial properties of hydrogen peroxide, you can gargle your mouth with a balanced mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water.
- You can include yogurt into your daily diet as it contains natural probiotics which may help prevent bacterial infections.
- Gargle apple cider or consume apples to dissolve tonsil stones as apples are acidic in nature.
- Consume garlic to break down the bacteria in tonsil stones as garlic contains antibacterial properties.
- If you see tonsil stones in the back of your throat, use a cotton swab to loosen the stones and press on the tissue gently. Then, push the tonsil stones to the front of the mouth. Be careful to not push too hard because you risk injuring your throat.
And that concludes our guide on tonsil stones. Now you know that tonsil stones are common and that there are many ways to prevent them. If you have any persisting problem with your mouth hygiene, we strongly recommended you go see a doctor or a specialist.