Tonsil stones, also known as tonsilloliths, are hard formations found in the crevices of tonsils. They often appear white or yellow in color, and in some cases cause serious complications for sufferers. This is especially true for those with larger tonsil stones, which can even affect breathing if left unchecked.
The following information can prove highly useful for both identifying tonsil stones and seeking treatment. While not all patients will require surgical intervention, knowing the common signs and symptoms can help those afflicted find the best available option for them.
- Recurrent Tonsillitis Can Increase Risk
Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils that can cause extreme swelling and pain. When tonsils become swollen, excess tissue develops which can result in the formation of cracks and crevices. This allows substances to accumulate within the tonsil area, which may develop into tonsil stones over time.
For this reason, recurring bouts of tonsillitis are closely linked to the creation of tonsil stones. Serious or persistent cases of tonsillitis may call for a tonsillectomy, which entails removing the infected tonsils completely.
- Bad Breath Is Common Sign of Tonsil Stones
Frequent halitosis is often a tell-tale sign of tonsil stones. This is because tonsil stones tend to contain sulfur, which has a particularly acrid smell. Statistics show that those with high levels of sulfur in the mouth frequently experience tonsil stones. Other common symptoms include:
- Difficult or painful swallowing
- Consistently feeling like something is stuck within the throat
- Swelling in and around the tonsils
- Treatment Options Can Vary
Surgery may be a viable option for those people with serious cases of tonsil stones. While some experience no symptoms at all, larger stones can become quite uncomfortable. In this case, a tonsillectomy may be required to provide relief.
For less serious cases, at home treatments can prove highly effective. Gargling with a saline solution is one of the more popular options for dealing with tonsil stones. Irrigation is another effective removal method, as a concentrated stream of water can help dislodge a stubborn stone. While some recommend probing visible stones, this can result in damage to the throat which may require medical treatment.
Prevention Is the Best Defense
For those concerned about tonsil stones, the best possible defense is proper hygiene. Daily brushing and flossing will prevent the accumulation of debris that can cause tonsil stones, while also cutting back on harmful bacteria. Because stones are so often linked to tonsillitis, it’s also best to avoid close contact with those suffering from sore throats. Doing so will ensure a clean and healthy mouth for the duration, which can greatly increase one’s overall health.