We usually associate stones in our body with kidneys. Apparently, it’s not the only organ where stones can form as they might also develop in our tonsils. They hardly ever lead to more serious health complications, but they may cause some pain and swelling. Learn what are the causes, symptoms, and ways of treating tonsil stones.
What Are Tonsil Stones?
Tonsils can be found in our throat, they are fleshy and soft structures which consist of specific tissues known as lymphocytes. They are very important cells that can stimulate our immune system to fight and prevent infections. If tonsils perform their function well, they protect us from various bacteria and viruses. If they don’t work as they should, tonsil stones develop.
Tonsils are built from tunnels, crevices and tonsil crypts, where different materials and bacteria such as mucus, saliva, dead cells or some food fragments may hide and accumulate to form pockets. When the time passes, these materials calcify and become hard. This process leads to the development of tonsil stones.
Tonsil stones, also known as tonsillitis or tonsil calculi, usually develop in the back of the mouth behind our wisdom teeth and lower molars. However, they can also accumulate on the roof of the mouth or in the back of the mouth. Tonsil stones are usually whitish and yellowish, and they have irregular shapes.
What Are The Symptoms?
Some people don’t even notice that they have tonsil stones as they don’t cause any visible symptoms or pain. Others, however, experience various unpleasant symptoms.
The major symptom of tonsil stones is bad breath. As it has been mentioned above, tonsil stones form because of the accumulated materials in crevices of tonsils. Then, various bacteria and fungi develop on these build ups and that leads to the unpleasant smell. Bad breath also happens when tonsil stones go together with tonsils infection.
Another common symptom of tonsil stones is a sore throat. If tonsil stones are large or they are badly located, they can irritate the throat, causing pain and infection. Additionally, it can create the feeling of discomfort, especially while swallowing.
Ear pain is not so common, but it also happens when a tonsil stone develops near the ear area. Tonsil stones may also lead to inflammation or infection, which may result in tonsil swelling.
Other common symptoms include the feeling as if something was lodged in your throat. You can also cough frequently without any particular reason or feel that your throat is irritated. The tonsils might be red and you can experience a metallic taste in your mouth.
In most severe cases, you might feel a strong pain or you can observe that your tonsils are inflamed or that they bleed. If that happens, consult your doctor immediately.
Some tonsil stones don’t look like typical stones, but like a lump of solid white debris. However, it’s just an impression because the stones are just hidden in the folds of the tonsils. In such case they may be visible only with the use of CT scans or magnetic resonance imaging.
How to Recognize Tonsil Stones
The symptoms described above may indicate that you suffer from tonsil stones, but they can also suggest many different conditions. In some cases, however, depending on their location, you can detect and observe the tonsil stones on your own.
Tonsil stones occur in the shades of yellow, gray and white. You will find them in soft tissue of the tonsils. Tonsils, on the other hand, are fleshy structures located on the both sides of the back of your throat. They are oval and consist of crypts, pits, craters, and crevices.
Try to use a small mirror and a proper lighting and you should be able to see the whitish and yellowish stones in your tonsils. Sometimes, however, they are hidden it the tissue of the tonsils. Therefore, if you have typical symptoms of tonsil stones, but you can’t see them, consult your doctor.
How to Get Rid of Tonsil Stones Naturally
The effectiveness of natural, home-made methods often depends on the size of stones and how painful they are. However, it’s always worth trying them before you turn to medical treatments.
1. Try Salty Water
One of the easiest solutions to tonsil stones is rinsing your throat with salty water. Salty water has cleansing qualities and therefore it can wash off all the small materials like mucus or food pieces, which accumulated in your tonsils.
If you also deal with frequent sore throat or infections, salty water can be useful as well, due to its antibacterial qualities. If you rinse your tonsils with salty water on a daily basis, you will reduce the unpleasant breath and you will prevent the tonsil stones development. Instead of salty water you can also go for a non-alcoholic mouth wash.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking at least eight glasses of water a day is good for your organism because it flushes the toxins out of your body. Similarly, it can also help you to clean your tonsils from the unwanted debris.