Whenever we speak about stones, we can only think about stones in gall bladder or in kidney. But have you ever heard of Tonsil Stones, or tonsilloliths?
Our tonsils are filled with nooks and crannies where bacteria and other materials, including dead cells and mucous, can become trapped. When this happens, the debris can become concentrated in white formations, the tonsil stones, that occur in the pockets. Tonsil stones are most common in teens and those with large tonsils. Those with poor dental hygiene may also experience tonsil stones.
How do I know if I have Tonsil Stones?
Typically, tonsil stones can be seen as white, yellow or grey nodes on the tonsils. Though, many tonsil stones aren’t visible because they are burrowed down inside of the tonsil.
Some people have no symptoms when afflicted with tonsil stones. Those who do have symptoms often report redness or irritation of the tonsils. There are several other symptoms that can be related to tonsil stones, with bad breath being one of the most obvious. According to the Mayo Clinic, bacteria grow on the stones, which produces a foul odor.
People with throat stones can also feel like they have something stuck in their throats.
So, how bad can it be?
Tonsil infections that lead to chronic bad breath are most often due to tonsil stones. Although tonsil stones are fairly common, many dentists and physicians miss them completely when their patients complain of halitosis.
A study published in the journal Microbes and Infection concluded that tonsil stones cause halitosis because they are crawling with anaerobic bacteria.
And what’s the remedy?
Well, it really boils down to two things :
- Proper dental hygiene – for starters, try to brush the stone out, keep your oral hygiene in order, gargle with salt water twice a day.
- Surgery – this one needs some serious consideration. Tonsil removal surgeries involve bleeding, use of anesthesia, and well, no talking for some time!