Tonsil Stones – Their Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Tonsil Stones

Tonsil Stones

Tonsil stones are found at the back of throat and resemble small stones. In some cases, they can also appear in the area between your wisdom teeth and tonsils. They grow with time and if they become too large, they can be quite uncomfortable. Aside from that, they also have unpleasant smell and taste.

Tonsil stones are formed within the crypts (tiny pockets) that exist on the tonsils. These crypts are susceptible to these stones because they are hollow and often get filled with debris such as bacteria, food particles and mucous. All such debris gets cemented together due to white blood cells which results in hard stone like structures. The continue to grow in size and ultimately burst or become free.

In many cases, tonsil infection can speed up the formation of these stones because infection contributes to the crypt size. Though stones can help in preventing infection by isolating the waste particles, but they can themselves cause infection if left there for too long. Tonsilloliths are not dangerous, but their presence indicates that you should improve your oral hygiene You can prevent their formation by rinsing your mouth frequently with a salt and water solution or a mouthwash.

Tonsil Stones – Symptoms

Tonsilloliths show up more frequently in adults and all small stones rarely exhibit any warning signals. Even large stones are found incidentally on CT scans and X rays. If they are not treated for long, they can create some frustrating symptoms. We are discussing few of them below:

Bad breath
This is one of the most important and prominent symptoms tonsil stones. Initially bad breath is of minimal inconvenience to the sufferer and usually remedy is to chew some gum or a mint tablet. However, it is just covering up the problem and stage comes when it is not possible even to cover it up.

White-colored Debris
This is another indication of tonsil stones where white debris is present at the rear end of throat as a lump of hard mass. In may cases, they are hidden within the tonsil folds. In such cases they are detectable with MRI or CT scans.

Irritated Throat
At any time a tonsilloliths or tonsillar stone show up together, it is very hard to identify whether painful sensation in your throat is due to any infection due to tonsil stone. Their presence can lead to sore throat or tenderness in area.

Difficulties in swallowing
Depending upon the place and size of tonsil stones, they could prove painful or sometimes it becomes very hard to swallow liquids or food.

Ear Aches
They may develop at any place in your tonsil. Because of shared nerve paths, one could feel soreness in their ears.

Irritation in tonsils
Once tonsil stones are formed, inflammation from stone may result in infection, which may worsen in some cases.

Treatment of tonsil stones

It is possible for you to get rid of these annoying tonsil stones by using various methods. Many people get rid of these stones by picking them up with the help of their fingers, which they stick in their mouth. The main problem with this idea is that it is not perfect and you may continue to poke around in your mouth without success.

Another best way to get rid of them of them is by using a Q-tip or cotton swab and then use it to squeeze your tonsils with sufficient force for dislodging the stones. Alternatively, you can also use toothbrush for getting rid of them.

Another DIY method is to use an irrigation device such as Waterpik that can be used for directly spraying water on your tonsils for dislodging your stones. Many people still fail to get any luck with all these mehods. There are numerous other ways to get rid of these smelly and nasty stones and you can consult your doctor on this issue.

Finally, one thing to remember is that tonsil stones are not actually stones but just mineral deposits. They arise when you don’t wash your food properly, as a result food particles can get stuck on all such mineral deposits. Many people have misconception that tonsil stones are in any way related to the kidney stones. This is not true!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ashley March 16, 2013 at 1:41 am

I tried all the methods that you have recommended and I had no luck getting rid of me stones. I finally gave up and went to see the ENT or ear nose and throat doc. He walked in the door and said he would take them out.


He told me that I had chronic form of tonsillitis and that the tonsil stones would never get better bc the places would only get bigger. So I opted for the surgery and I’m so glad I did… I am 25 years old and was not getting any younger. I must be a rare case because I haven’t had much pain at all and I am going on my 4th day after surgery. Both nurses and I have been rather shocked to hear that I am doing so well. But I’d try these things and if they don’t work go see an ENT.


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