What are tonsil stones and should you be concerned?
What are tonsil stones?
Tonsil stones are formed when food debris or bacteria gets lodge in the tiny cervices on your tonsils. The back of the throat has gland like structures made of tissues with cells that fight off infections. These cells fight off infections by trapping and destroying bacteria. When debris starts to turn hard, a tonsil stone is formed. Tonsil stones can appear as a white or yellowish mass. Tonsil stones don’t always irritate the tonsil or throat, but the odor can be unpleasant and can be a source of bad breath.
Common symptoms of tonsil stones
Many people who have tonsil stones may not even notice any symptoms. If any symptoms occur they may include: Bad breath can be a sign of tonsil stone. However, many other oral health factors can cause bad breath. If tonsillitis is not causing the sore throat but your throat feels pain and discomfort. Tonsil stones may be irritating your throat causing you to cough. A visual symptom that a tonsil stone is lodge between the nooks and cervices at the back of your throat are white tiny debris. You might be able to see a tonsil stone in the back of your throat a lump of solid white material.
How are tonsil stones treated?
Often there is no special medical treatment needed to resolve tonsil stones. The stone can naturally dislodge and dissolve. However, if you have mild to moderate tonsil stones, many people can gently dislodge the stone by using a toothbrush, cotton swab or water flosser. You should be cautious when trying to dislodge tonsil stones because agitation of the back of your throat can cause you to gag. The least invasive way to dislodge tonsil stones is just by gargling warm salt water to clear away any debris.
Very large tonsil stones can be difficult to remove by yourself and may require medical attention. These large tonsil stones can cause the tonsil to swell causing difficulty to breath. If you have recurring tonsil stones and tonsillitis, your doctor may recommend surgery to prevent further complications. If persistent tonsil stones cause health complications, doctors can perform medical procedures to smooth the surface of the tonsils to reduce the cervices that stones can potentially form.
Preventing tonsil stones
Practicing good oral hygiene is a good way to prevent tonsil stones from forming. Preventing tonsil stone growth is almost impossible. However, good oral hygiene that includes brushing, flossing, and using mouth wash can help remove food debris and bacteria reducing the risk of developing tonsil stones.
Tonsil stones can be unpleasant because of the foul smell. Tonsil stones generally do not cause any major dental problems aside from bad breath. However, if tonsil stone is a persistent problem, it would be advisable to seek professional medical opinion.
Call California Dental Group at (800) 407-0161 to schedule your next appointment. We look forward to helping all our patients keep their mouths clean and healthy.