Have you started to notice small, hard, white, stone like matter coming from the back of your throat? It may even have an unpleasant smell to it. Have no fear! This condition is called Tonsilloliths or otherwise known as tonsil stones. Your tonsils are gland like structures located in the very back of your mouth at the top of your throat. Tonsils contain lymphocytes, which are cells that fight off infections. Tonsils are also believed to be help the immune system by trapping the bacteria or viruses trying to enter your body through the mouth. On the contrary medical experts agree that tonsils are often more of a hindrance to the immune system rather than a help. It is proven that people who had their tonsils removed are no more likely to get sick than those whose tonsils are in tact.
So what causes these stones to form?
Dead cells, mucous, or food particles can get trapped within the tonsils. The debris then califices or hardens to create stones. Tonsil stones are more likely to occur in people who experience chronic inflammation, tonsillitis, or have larger tonsils.
Symptoms of Tonsil Stones
Keep in mind that you may not experience all of these symptoms. The larger the stone is, the more symptoms you will experience.
- Haliotis (bad breath)LINK- tonsil stones provide a home for bacteria leading to bad breath that can be difficult to get rid of
- Sore throat White debris-can be visible as a solid white lump, usually hidden in the folds on the tonsils
- Difficulty swallowing
- Ear pain
- Tonsil swelling
How to treat tonsil stones
- These stones usually require little to no treatment-they can usually be removed at home.
- Coughing will usually dislodge the stone but a waterpik can be used if needed.
- Gargle with warm salt water to loosen the stone and disinfect the tonsils.
- In extreme cases the stones may need to be surgically removed by a medical professional. A local numbing agent is typically used to remove the exceedingly large stone.