What Is a Tonsil Stone?

Do you have a sore, uncomfortable feeling in your throat that will not go away? Do you notice trouble swallowing or a bad taste or smell in your mouth? Symptoms like these might occur if you have a tonsil stone, a calcified formation within the nodes at the back of your throat or mouth.

Tonsil stones rarely pose a larger threat to your oral health, but they can feel quite irritating. Stubborn stones might require dental attention, but you can also relieve discomfort and even prevent stone development on your own. Check out these details about tonsil stones and their causes, treatments, and prevention.

What Is a Tonsil Stone

What Causes Tonsil Stones?

The tonsils filter germs and toxins that might attempt to enter your body via the throat. They trap them within crevices known as tonsillar crypts. Mucus, food particles, and other items might also become stuck there, and then they can calcify and form into tonsil stones.

These stones will not always cause you pain or disrupt your daily life in a major way. But tonsil stones could make your breath smell bad or could heighten your risk of infections like strep throat. If you wonder if you have tonsil stones, you might see these stones yourself at the back of your mouth, or you may feel like something is stuck in your throat.

How Do I Get Rid of Tonsil Stones?

Tonsil stones will dislodge and go away on their own in most cases. You can try at-home solutions to get rid of them too. Gargling with salt water or rinsing the mouth and throat with apple cider vinegar can help you eradicate tonsil stones. These materials break down a stone to make it easier to remove.

Dentists can diagnose tonsil stones with a visual exam or dental x-ray. They may also help you get rid of difficult or large stones by gently loosening them with a cotton swab.

Stubborn tonsil stones might require surgical removal. Dental patients with recurring stones or frequent infections might need to consider a tonsillectomy.

Can I Prevent Tonsil Stone Formation?

Keeping your mouth clean will lower your risk of forming tonsil stones, so make sure you practice good oral hygiene. This process eliminates harmful particles and residues in your mouth that might otherwise travel to your tonsils and contribute to stone formation.

Your oral hygiene regimen should include flossing each day and brushing your teeth twice a day. You can maximize oral hygiene by attending routine teeth cleanings at your dentist’s office too.

Drink plenty of water throughout your day to flush out your tonsils and further reduce the chances of getting tonsil stones. Rinsing your mouth after meals in particular can be beneficial. People with a history of forming stones may want to gargle after eating as well for even more preventative care.

Stop using tobacco products as well because these items introduce toxins to the mouth that could make you develop tonsil stones. Call your dentist to learn more about preventative oral health care.