Tonsil stones, also called tonsilloliths, are mineralization of debris within the crevices of the tonsils. When not mineralized the presence of debris is referred to as chronic caseous tonsillitis (CCT). Though there is no pain but there can be a feeling of something present.

Causes of Tonsil Stones

Tonsils are made from crevices, tunnels and pits known as tonsil crypts. There are different sorts of debris, such as dead cells, mucus and saliva. Bacteria and fungi feed on this buildup and cause a distinct odor. The debris hardens into a tonsil stone.

Potential causes of tonsil stones

  • Bad dental hygiene
  • Big tonsils
  • Chronic sinus issues
  • Continual tonsillitis (infected tonsils)

Symptoms of Tonsil Stones

Although some tonsil stones can be tough to see they can still cause noticeable symptoms.

Symptoms of tonsil stones can consist of:

  • Bad breath
  • Sore throat
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Cough
  • Ear pain
  • Ongoing cough
  • Swollen tonsils
  • White debris on the tonsil

Tonsil Stones Treatment

Tonsil stones can typically be treated at home. They regularly detach during vigorous gargling. You should position the swab at the back of the stone and push the tonsil stone toward the front of the mouth instead of into the throat. Do not use your finger or sharp to try to remove a tonsil stone.

If tonsil stones hurt or make it tough to swallow, people can try gargling with heat salt water.

Here are some treatments ranges from home treatments to clinical procedures:

  • Gargling
  • Manual removal
  • Laser tonsil cryptolysis
  • Coblation cryptolysis
  • Tonsillectomy
  • Antibiotics

A doctor has to be consulted if:

  • A person has symptoms of tonsil stones but no stones are visible
  • Removing the tonsil stones at home is not possible
  • The tonsils are red, swollen or painful
  • Pain is felt after removing a tonsil stone at home

How to Prevent Tonsil Stones

The only way to prevent them is to remove your tonsils. Good dental habits can help prevent tonsil stones and brush your teeth regularly to remove bacteria. Gargling after eating can also prevent food build up.