Tonsil stones are also known as tonsilloliths. They are caused by debris and bacteria building up and getting stuck in the tonsils. The debris including mucus from post nasal drop turns putrid in the back of the throat and collects in the small pockets on the surface of the tonsils.
To find out more about how tonsil stones are formed and how you can get rid of them, watch this really helpful video.
Tonsil stones look like little white or yellow balls. They can be so small that they are unnoticeable or fairly large (up to a few centimetres wide).
Tonsil Stones don’t always cause symptoms, but some may include:
- Recurrent bad breath
- White debris
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- Bad taste in the back of the throat
- Tonsil swelling
- Feeling like there is something stuck at the back of the throat
How do you get rid of Tonsil Stones?
Tonsil stones are an annoying and often embarrassing phenomenon. Everyone is unique therefore tonsil stones are caused by different factors in different people.
- Gargling with warm salt water helps to reduce the discomfort and pain associated with tonsil stones. Gargling is effective technique which will help you to get rid of tonsil stones. Normal salt solution can be used after every meal to flush out the food particles from your mouth.
- Coughing and opening your mouth wide may help dislodge tonsil stones
- Using a cotton bud and gently pressing the tonsil from the bottom and gently prodding a little higher each time, this may help push the tonsil stones out. Remember to press gently.
- You could use a medicine dropper. The suction from the dropper can suck up the tonsil stones from the holes in your tonsils.
- An exercise to do is extend the head backward, place the tongue at the roof of the mouth and swallow.
These are just suggestions from other sufferers and should be tried at your own risk.
Can I prevent Tonsil Stones from forming in the first place?
- Simple and obvious but make sure you brush your teeth in the morning and evening and ideally after every meal brushing will dislodge the small food particles that get stuck in your teeth and helps keep your mouth bacteria free.
- Always use a tongue scraper as part of your oral care routine. Once you have brushed your teeth reach as far back on your tongue as you can without gagging. This will remove bacteria that has built up on your tongue which your toothbrush may have missed.
- Gargle with alcohol free mouth wash like ProFresh or salt water ideally every time you brush your teeth
- Don’t eat just before you go to bed – food particles remain in your mouth while you sleep and will accumulate in your tonsils.
- Eliminate or cut down on dairy products in your diet – dairy products encourage the build up of mucus and calcium, which are components that make up tonsil stones.
- If you are thirsty drink water, water keeps your mouth moist; fizzy drinks, juices and caffeine drinks can encourage tonsil stone growth.
- Use a powerful flosser such as the WaterPik Water Flosser to ensure you remove all the bacteria and food debris from your mouth