When you hear the word "stones" and how it relates to the human body you probably think: kidney stone and gallbladder stones. And that's fair! That's usually what people have in regards to "stones".
BUT did you know . . . you can also get tonsil stones?
Tonsil stones are actually called, tonsilloliths. They develop in the tonsils when dead cells, bacteria and mucus harden.
What Causes Tonsil Stones (tonsilloliths)?
Tonsil stones sound gross so how can we prevent them?
Your tonsils (especially if they have been inflamed and have been prone to chronic tonsillitis) are filled with nooks and crannies where bacteria and other things, including dead cells and mucus, get trapped.
When this happens, the gunk all comes together, it builds up and it creates these smell, hard and gross tonsil stones.
How Do I know If I Have Tonsil Stones?
If you have smaller tonsil stones, you may not notice any symptoms. Sometimes, even when larger tonsil stones are found only after X-rays or CT scans. If you have chronic recurring tonsil stones you will probably notice a build up in the back of your throat.
Other symptoms of tonsil stones can include:
Bad breath (halitosis):
A main sign of a tonsil stone is chronic, unrelenting bad breath! Volatile sulfur compounds build up with tonsil stones (plus all the gunk on your tongue) which usually results in bad breath.
Persistent Cough (or constant throat clearing)
A stone might irritate your throat and make you cough. Actually, anything that is constantly in your throat will most likely irritate your throat and make you couch. However, if you have a persistent cough and when you do cough, if white debris (stones) are brought up you probably have tonsil stones.
You might even be able to see a tonsil stone in the back of your throat as a lump of solid white material.
Constant Sore throat.
Tonsil stone have been known to cause pain and discomfort. This is due to the nature of them being lodged in your throat.
Ear Ache (Not As Common)
Tonsil stones can develop anywhere in your tonsil. Because of shared nerve pathways, you might feel this pain in your ear. The stone itself isn’t touching your ear and no need to worry - just nerves!
How Do I Prevent Tonsil Stones?
If you are one of those unlucky people who have long-term tonsillitis you are more likely to get tonsil stones. This is due to the crevasses and holes that will be on your tonsils due to the chronic inflammation. If this is you, the only way to prevent them is to remove your tonsils.
For the rest of you - in order to prevent tonsil stones all you need is a good dental routine.
It's as simple as brushing, flossing, tongue scraping (with gunkii) and gargling. If you regularly remove bacteria and keep things from getting built up on your tongue your tonsils will be that much happier as well.