What are Tonsil Stones?
Your tonsils are made up of tunnels, pits and crevices that are known as tonsil crypts. Sometimes different kinds of debris like mucus, dead cells, saliva or food can get trapped in these crypts. Fungi and bacteria tend to feed on this and even cause an odour to form. As time goes by, the debris hardens into a calcified material called a tonsil stone. Some of the common symptoms of tonsil stones include sore throat, bad breath, ear pain, difficulty in swallowing and so on. While these stones may get dislodged on their own in some cases, you might need a doctor’s help in other cases.
Tonsil Stones Symptoms
If the tonsil stones are small in size, they may not exhibit any noticeable signs. However, as they grow larger, certain common tonsil stones symptoms displayed include:
- Bad breath
- Sore throat
- White debris and a sensation of something stuck in the back of the throat
- Have trouble swallowing
- Ear pain
- Scratchy voice
- Stiff neck
- Tonsil swelling
Chronic bad breath is often mistaken as trouble with your teeth. However, it can also be a clear indication of tonsil stones. Studies have shown that over 75% of people who complain about bad breath have volatile sulphur compounds in their breath, pointing to tonsil stones. You can also look out for white or pale yellow debris near the back of your throat. This is often a clear sign that you have a case of tonsil stones.
Who Is At Risk?
Tonsil stones tend to occur frequently among people who have poor dental hygiene. People who have large tonsils also seem to be more prone to developing tonsil stones. Since teenagers often tend to be lazy about their dental hygiene, they are also at risk of developing a tonsil stone. If you are prone to getting tonsil stones frequently, you will need to meet with a doctor to find a permanent tonsil stones remedy. The best way to reduce your risk of developing tonsil stones is by ensuring oral hygiene and gargling warm, salty water or mouthwash regularly.
Tonsil Stones Causes
Tonsils are responsible for stopping the spread of the bacteria from your mouth into your throat. Unfortunately, they are not always successful. In some cases, debris, mucus and even food particles flood into the different crypts of your tonsils resulting in tonsil stones. Some of the common tonsil stone causes include:
- Large tonsils which cause more build-up in their pockets
- Chronically inflamed tonsils
- Poor oral hygiene
- Sinus issues
Practising good oral hygiene is critical to making sure that the nooks in your tonsils remain clear at all times.
How Is Tonsil Stones Diagnosed?
A tonsil stones diagnosis is often done by a doctor through a physical exam. During the physical exam, the doctor will use a lighted instrument to look at your throat, ears and nose. They will gently feel your neck to check for swollen glands and then listen to your breathing with a stethoscope. This is followed by checking for a rash to eliminate chances of strep throat. The doctor will also look for an enlargement of the spleen to rule out any other health issue. While in most cases the physical exam is more than enough to arrive at a final diagnosis, the doctor may also order CT or MRI scans to find the exact location of the tonsil stones.
How Is Tonsil Stones Treated?
While tonsil stones are mostly harmless, it is a good idea to get removed so that you can put a stop to the bad breath and discomfort. If the tonsil stones are small, the tonsil stones treatment often involves home remedies like gargling regularly with salt water. The saltwater helps reduce the bad breath and also helps dislodge the stones. Unfortunately, there are no tonsil stones medicine which can help you out. If the stones have become larger in size, the doctor may have to perform a minor surgical procedure to remove them. Tonsil stone removal is also done through Laser tonsil cryptanalysis or Coblation cryptanalysis. A tonsillectomy is performed for severe and chronic cases of tonsil stones. If you find yourself experiencing any symptoms similar to a tonsil stone, it is a good idea to consult with a doctor. Cure.fit offers you online video consultations that allow you to take to a doctor of your choice at a convenient time.
How Can Tonsil Stones Be Prevented?
Tonsil stones prevention is all about good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth and using mouthwash regularly. Medical professionals also advise drinking plenty of water to help your body stay hydrated. At the end of the day, preventing tonsil stones is a lot better than searching for a tonsil stones cure.