Tonsil stones, which are also known as tonsilloliths, are a build-up of calcified or hardened materials in the tonsils or the crevices that surround the tonsils. The tonsil stones are caused by dead cells or bacteria which has accumulated in the fissures or pits around tonsils that are enlarged.
This material is odorous and can often result in extremely bad breath, but are tonsil stones bad?
A tonsil stone or stones starts off as a soft and small area where bacteria accumulate. Over time these stones start to grow in size and can cause some discomforting symptoms.
Most of the tonsil stones will develop in crevices or cracks behind, around or on top of the tonsils. As the bacteria continue to accumulate and continue feed on debris, the size of the stones will grow. This puts more stress on the gums and tonsils which will lead to inflammation.
This, of course, can be painful and can even make your day more difficult as you can have trouble when swallowing. Not only that but you could also experience ear pain too as the tonsils are on a similar nerve pathway to the ears.
The tonsil stones could also, and will most likely, cause bad breath but other than tonsil and gum inflammation, you shouldn’t experience any other harmful symptoms. However, the bad breath could draw you away from social interactions due to embarrassment which could harm your self-esteem.
Conditions That Can Correlate
Tonsil stones which include the accumulation of dead skin cells and bacteria which build-up and then harden in the tonsils are often correlated with:
- Nasal drainage
- Poor oral hygiene
- A sore throat
Tips on Preventing Tonsil Stones
The ideal way to prevent this condition is to always practice oral hygiene at least three times a day by brushing and flossing thoroughly. You should also try to manage nasal symptoms which can result in an accumulation of mucus in the area of the throat.
You want to clear out your tonsils as best as possible to reduce the possibility of infection.
I also recommend that you gargle with an antibacterial mouthwash, either homemade or store bought. Many people suggest using salt water but I prefer apple cider vinegar. It has anti-inflammatory properties as well as anti-bacterial so it’ll help reduce tonsil swelling and fight off bad bacteria.
Also, make sure to drink enough water and limit alcohol and tobacco consumption. Both of these affect hydration and in order to fight off tonsil stones, you want to be as hydrated as possible – to maintain a high level of salvia.
In most cases, health professionals do not take any action themselves to help you, other than make medical and practical suggestions. A tonsil stone infection is very rarely severe enough for a tonsillectomy to be necessary, you should be able to handle them at home by taking advantage of the prevention methods above and by removing them whenever needed.
The majority of the health professionals will also suggest increasing oral hygiene habits and making healthier lifestyle choices in order to decrease the build-up that might be accumulating in the tonsil area.
If the stones are regarded as severe enough, are causing pain and discomfort and are constantly returning, they might require a tonsillectomy or a surgical extraction.
Even though tonsil stones do have many annoying and discomforting symptoms, they do not pose any serious threat to your health. They would just make your life a little bit more difficult.
So I hope that the methods I have talked about here will be enough to suppress your troubles and make your day a little easier.