Tonsil stones, or tonsilloliths, are thick white or yellow dispositions placed on or within the tonsils.
People with tonsil stones often don’t even realize they have them. Tonsil stones can be rice-sized or the size of a grape and are often difficult to see. Health complications caused by tonsil stones are rare. However, they can become larger and cause swelling, as well as an unpleasant odour.
Causes of Tonsils
A tonsil crypt is a small crevice, tunnel, or pit in your tonsil. The pockets of mucus, saliva, and dead cells can be clogged with debris including dead cells, mucus, and food debris. A distinct odour is created by bacteria and fungi that feed off of this debris.
This debris eventually hardens into a tonsil stone. Tonsil stones can vary in size and shape from small to large, with some people having only one.
Toxin stones may have several causes, such as:
- Bad dental hygiene
- Massive tonsils
- Chronic sinusitis
- Inflamed tonsils (chronic tonsillitis)
Even though some tonsil stones may not be visible, they can still cause noticeable symptoms. Tonsil stones can cause the following symptoms:
- bad breath
- painful throat
- discomfort swelling
- ear pain
- continuous cough
- inflated tonsils
- white or yellow detritus on the tonsil
Many tonsil stones do not produce symptoms, especially smaller ones.
Tonsil stones often occur in people who have tonsils. Fortunately, you can prevent them. To begin, follow these steps:
- Maintaining good oral hygiene, including cleaning your tongue after brushing
- Quitting smoking
- Using saltwater for gargling
- Keep hydrated by drinking water
Removal of Tonsil Stones
While tonsilloliths are usually harmless, they can cause discomfort or odour to some people. Home remedies and medical procedures are available as treatments.
You can relieve throat discomfort by vigorously gargling with salt water, and it may dislodge tonsil stones as well. Salt water may also alter the chemistry of your mouth. Tonsil stones can also contribute to an unpleasant odour. Gargle with 8 ounces of warm water containing 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Your tonsil stones may be discovered when you cough up one. It is possible to loosen stones by coughing energetically.
Carbonated beverages like soda or sparkling water can help break up tonsil stones. Take a sip, swish the drink around your mouth, and swallow.
Avoid removing the stones with rigid items like a toothbrush. Tonsils are delicate tissues, so it’s important to be gentle with them. When tonsil stones are manually removed, there is a risk of bleeding and infection. The best course of action is to use a cotton swab or water pick gently.
A small amount of surgery may be recommended if stones become particularly large or cause pain or persistent symptoms.
Laser Tonsil Cryptolysis
In this procedure, tonsil stones are removed by using a laser to destroy their crypts. Local anaesthesia may be used during this procedure. It usually takes little time for recovery and discomfort to disappear.
No heat is involved in coblation cryptolysis. In its place, radio waves create charged ions from a salt solution. Tissue can be cut by these ions. Coblation cryptolysis works much like lasers but without the burn.
The removal of tonsils is known as a tonsillectomy. The procedure may be done with a coblation device, a scalpel, or a laser.
Tonsil stone surgery is controversial. In cases of chronic tonsil stones, tonsillectomy is usually recommended only when other methods have failed.
A lot of times, antibiotics can be used to treat tonsil stones. They can lower the bacteria counts, which play a crucial role in the formation of tonsil stones.
However, antibiotics won’t treat the underlying cause of your stones, and they can also have side effects. Also, antibiotics should not be used long-term, so you are likely to recur after you stop using them.
Tonsil stones can cause complications. An abscess is one of the most serious complications of tonsil stones.
Tonsil stones are large and can damage tonsil tissue. The result can be significant swelling, inflammation, and infection.
Infections of the tonsils may also cause tonsil stones.
Tonsil Stones are Contagious?
A tonsil stone is not contagious. This material is called biofilm. A biofilm in your mouth is made up of your bacteria and fungi interacting with the chemistry in your mouth. If a surface is moist, this mixture adheres to it.
During tonsil stones, the material becomes hardened inside the tonsils. A plaque biofilm is another common oral biofilm. In addition to cavities, biofilms contribute to gum disease.