How do you get rid of tonsil stones? We want you to know when you should see your doctor and how to prevent such events from occurring. Bright Side wants your doctor to know whether it’s appropriate to see tonsilloliths at your office if symptoms seem to be minor but often occur.
Tonsil stones, also known as Tonsillitis in medical terms, are known to have negative effects on your oral health. Bad odor is usually one of them. Many people with tonsil stones will seldom realize until they decide to check their mouths, maybe through the mirror or visit a medical practitioner if they notice any changes in their oral health. Here, we get to identify what tonsil stone is, the symptoms that come with it, prevention and how to take care of it at home.
What are Tonsil stones?
Tonsil stones are hard formations, usually white or yellow in color, that form on the tonsils. They are also classified as calcified masses that form on the tonsils. There are three types of tonsil stones:
• Pharyngeal – This type form at the back of your throat.
• Palatine – Form at either side of your tonsil or both.
• Lingual – These ones form at the back or base of the tongue and are rarely visible.
Palatine tonsils are most visible among the three types of tonsil stones. They often range from small-sized tonsil stones to big formations that could eventually swell your tonsil, casing unpleasant odors. On the other hand, tonsils are gland structures at each side of your throat, many scientists argue that tonsils help in the prevention of bacteria from getting into your body through your throat, the main reason people get tonsil stones.
The fact that tonsils are made of lymphocytes which help fight off bacteria and infections could back this argument.
Studies also indicate that individuals who have their tonsils removed have more risk of getting infected with bacteria and virus than those with their tonsils present.
Causes of Tonsil Stones
Tonsils stones are caused by several debris’ accumulations on the tonsils. Mucus, saliva, food particles and dead cells can be caught in the pits and tunnels of the tonsils, which eventually cause the formation of tonsil stones. This formation is fed on by fungi and bacteria which eventually leads to bad odor and bad breath.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Poor dental hygiene could easily cause tonsil stones. Washing your mouth at least twice every day could help reduce the risk of this formation. Poor dental hygiene will only encourage more formation of bacteria and fungi leading to worse oral odor.
A large surface tonsil will eventually catch more debris and accumulate more bacteria. Many people opt to get rid of their tonsils, especially if large but some medical practitioners do not encourage the same.
Other causes include:
• Chronic sinus complications
• Inflamed tonsils, also known as chronic tonsilitis.
Symptoms of Tonsil Stones
Tonsils stones often show many signs and symptoms. If you notice some of the following symptoms, then ensure to follow up with your medical doctor.
- Bad Odor/Breath – This is by far the most common symptom of tonsil stones. Bad breath and halitosis come in with a tonsil infection. Bad breath is caused by the accumulation of bacteria and fungi which feed on accumulated food particles captured by the tonsil sacks.
- Sore throat – Tonsil stones often leads to discomfort around your throat. This discomfort alludes to a sore throat formation which could eventually lead to difficulty in swallowing. Sore throats are also believed to cause mood swings in individuals.
- White formations – Another common and visible symptom is the formation of white or yellow debris on your throat or tonsils. The formation can be small or large in size depending on the severity of the tonsil stone.
- Cough – The irritation caused by the throat might easily cause coughing.
- Swallowing difficulties – Due to the formation of debris and sore throat, swallowing of both saliva and food might be difficult and uncomfortable.
- Swollen tonsils – Tonsils eventually swell due to the formation of debris. This further leads to inflammations and infection.
- Ear discomfort – Tonsils and the ears share nerves. This causes discomfort around your ears and could eventually lead to pain.
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Preventing Tonsil Stones
Tonsil stones can be quite stubborn if not well prevented. Here are some efficient ways to help prevent tonsils stones from regularly occurring.
Proper oral hygiene is key in preventing tonsil stones. Proper washing will reduce the formation of debris which will leave a clean mouth, tongue and tonsils. Oral hygiene will also ensure better breath. This can be done using a toothbrush and toothpaste or saltwater. Apple vinegar can also be used instead of paste.
In addition, you could use the backside of your toothbrush to remove the tonsil stones while still brushing your teeth and mouth. Either way, you will have ensured the prevention of the same.
Swishing mouthwash gently in your mouth can easily help prevent tonsil stones. If present, this mouthwash washes away the formations leaving a clean tonsil and tongue. It is also vital to ensure the mouth wash in use is non-alcoholic for better results.
Gargling warm salt water in your mouth can be helpful. Saltwater is used as a cleansing agent and can easily loosen the tonsil stones off the tonsil. This saltwater can also be used to reduce inflammation of the throat or sore throat.
Curettage is the removal of larger tonsils. Removal may also lessen bad breath while reducing the formation of dirt and food particles on the tonsils.
Laser is a preventive measure that can be used to reduce the tonsil. This is done by laser resurfacing. The process is known as cryptolysis and can be performed by a regular anesthetic. This procedure helps prevent the trapping of the dirt by flattening the tonsils traps.
Tonsillectomy is the procedure of tonsil removal. Here, the tonsil is completely removed through surgery. This can be a permanent preventive measure.
In addition, there are other habits that can be practised to help prevent tonsil stones. Quitting smoking should be encouraged as it will prevent further formation of dirt and bacteria around your tonsil. Smoking fuels tonsil stones. Drinking plenty of water, sometimes warm, may help reduce the risk of tonsil stones formation. Through hydration, if tonsil stones are present, they could loosen and get rid of.
How do I take care of tonsil stones?
Managing tonsil stones at home can be quite challenging but there are ways to take care of them. Some of the ways can be easily done at home while some might need a medical doctor’s help.
Use of Antibiotics
Antibiotics help reduce the bacteria formation on your tonsils. They also prevent the development and growth of the same. However, antibiotics should not be used in the long term because they come with their own side effects despite helping manage tonsil stones.
Use of vinegar
Whether it’s apple cider vinegar or any other, vinegar is a solution that could easily make the stones fall off because of its acidic nature. This is an all-natural that could easily be applied at home.
Using garlic in your food preparation or water for consumption can be useful here. Garlic contains antibacterial and antifungal properties that could easily fight off tonsil stones.
Removing tonsil stones by the use of cotton swabs can help manage these stones. It involves using cotton swabs to pull out the stones. Remember tonsils are soft and will need gentle items to remove the tonsil stones.
Applying essential oils
Application of essential oils like myrrh and lemongrass could help manage tonsil stones. These essential oils contain antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties which could help keep your tonsils clean and bacteria-free. This will help keep off tonsil stones and also improve your breath. These essential oils could be mixed in water for gargling or applied to your toothbrush before brushing. It is also essential to realize that the toothbrush in use while having tonsil stones should be gotten rid of immediately the symptoms fade away.
Moreover, consumption of some foods and fruits like apples, carrots, onions and probiotic yoghurt may naturally help manage tonsil stones. These foods are highly rich in properties that could help reduce the risk of these stones or help in getting rid of them if present.
How to Make Tonsil Stones Fall out
There are various ways to make tonsil stones fall out.
Although removing tonsil stones with the help of your toothbrush is not encourage, it may sometimes help. Alternatively, you could use your own fingers to gently remove the stones, though it may need a little strain on your jaws while opening your mouth in order to reach them. Tonsils are soft tissues and should not be pricked with sharp items since they could cause more harm than good.
Coughing could help tonsil stones to fall out. You will need to put more energy into your coughing to enable them to fall off. Even though all may not come out, you will be sure to fall off one or two.
Gargling with warm water or salty water will help fall off the tonsil stones. This warm or salty water help loosen up the stones from the tonsils causing them to either fall or be swallowed. Gargling will also help reduce bad odor and inflammation of the throat caused by the tonsil stones.
This is a process of tonsil stone removal that does not involve heat. Unlike laser, this process uses ions to cut through tissue. This process helps remove the tonsil stones.
You should consider seeing a medical doctor if:
• You have tonsil stones but they are not visibly clear.
• The tonsil stones cause more pain and discomfort
• Feeling pain after tonsil stones removal
• Difficulty in breathing due to clogged throat because of large tonsils.
• If bleeding occurs.