If you were to listen to someone talk about body stones, your mind would automatically drift to the kidneys. However, the kidney is not the only area of your system where a bothersome stone can develop. Tonsil stones they are quite common and do not come close to the danger of the other variety.
The medical term for these nasty rocks is tonsilloliths, according to the National Library of Medicine. They are found on or near the tonsils of the throat and are white or yellowish in color. They receive the term stone because they are hard as a rock. What causes these little pebbles to form in the tonsil area?
The size of the tonsil stone can vary greatly. Some people have stones, no bigger than a kernel of corn, while others can fight off some that are as big as a cherry tomato. Fortunately, they are not known to cause any significant health problems, but they are known for their pungent odor.
In the rare event that these stones become more extensive, they can inflame the entire area. When the tonsils become swollen, they can obstruct the airways, although this is the worst case. Most of the people do not even need to seek medical treatment for themselves as they use home remedies to fix the problem.
Four factors that contribute to tonsil stones
You see a small ball of meat hanging down the back of the throat known as the uvula, and the tonsils are located on either side. You can’t see all the shafts and tunnels that are hidden within these little cryptic-type areas. Numerous cracks within this region make it easy to capture things like food and dead skin cells.
Since everything you swallow passes through this region, it is not uncommon for things to get trapped within the fissures and to start to build up. Unfortunately, once the area has a collection of materials, the bacteria begin to feed on the rotting or decaying matter. It’s easy to tell when you have a problem like this from the horrible smell what cause.
A tonsil stone doesn’t form overnight, but as debris settles in these pockets, it becomes rock hard. Now, the interesting thing is that you can get one stone or have many at once. It all depends on your risk factors and the design of your tonsils.
The more crack you have, the more likely you are to develop these rock formations. The medical community has identified the four most common risk factors and they are:
1. Poor dental hygiene
When a person lacks dental hygiene, it causes more bacteria and debris to roam freely in the mouth. It can easily lodge in these pockets inside the tonsils. Once the stone is forming, no amount of brushing or flossing will remove it.
2. Tonsils of abnormal size
If a dentist measured 50 mouths across the country, they would all have tonsils of different sizes. They are as unique as the toes or fingers. Unfortunately, the larger this gland, the more likely it is that things will get trapped inside.
If it is still an ongoing problem, you can remove them to avoid the recurring problem.
3. Persistent sinus problems
Sinus problems They are a known contributor to tonsil stones due to infection and mucus running down the back of the throat. As long as you have an area high in bacteria, plus pockets where food particles can hide, it’s a recipe for trouble.
4. Recurrent tonsillitis
Tonsillitis it is an inflammation of the tonsils. It is often accompanied by a sore throat, blisters, and infection. Some people have recurring episodes of this common condition, putting them at higher risk.
Seven signs of tonsil stones
Fortunately, most people can easily see their stones simply by doing a self-exam in the mirror. However, depending on the size and location, you may not be able to quickly identify them. Fortunately, there are some signs and symptoms present that cannot be ignored.
1 – Distinctive smell coming from your mouth
The smell caused by tonsil stones is pungent. It smells like rotten teeth or any other type of cavities. According to the National Library of Medicine, you may be able to taste the infection and bacteria in the saliva in your mouth. Remember, if an infection is present, you are swallowing and putting all of those germs in your stomach, so it needs to be treated right away.
Do you have a sore throat that doesn’t go away? When there are stones, swelling and redness are common. You may think of it as a routine sore throat, but when it persists, it is cause for alarm. The stones can irritate the lining of the throat and cause inflammation.
3 – Difficulties swallowing
Depending on the size and location of the stone, you may have a hard time swallowing larger objects. Does food seem to hang over the side or do you have to force things with a drink? These are all signs that the stone is somehow blocking your esophagus.
4 – Persistent earaches
If you know anything about your medical anatomy, you know that your ears, nose, and throat are connected. When it comes to chronic sore throat problems, your ears are expected to have sympathetic pains. Also, you can develop an ear infection if the sinuses are involved or if the infection in this area travels to other regions.
5 – Chronic cough
You can cough a lot if you have tonsil stones in your mouth. The reason is that your gag reflex is trying to flush anything in the area through the digestive system. Anything in the pockets or crevices and the stones themselves can trigger this reflex and make you want to try to expel foreign bodies.
6 – Dilated tonsils
Since the tonsils accumulate debris and fill with inflammation, it is common for you to notice some swelling or inflammation in the area. One tonsil may appear more extensive than the other, especially if it is the one involved. Only one tonsil can be affected and the other can be healthy.
7 – White or yellow patches
At first glance, you might think you have a blister in your throat. Most people do not look inside their mouth for tonsil stones. So if you have identified what you think is a blister and it does not go away, then it needs to be investigated further.
* It should be noted that most stones are smaller in size. In general, these smaller stones do not cause any pain, sore throat, odors, or other problems. Only when the calcifications grow larger do they become a problem.
Prevention to avoid tonsilloliths
Here are some things you can do to help prevent these pesky stones from developing.
The more water you drink, the less chance there is for waste to build up in your throat. The water helps push all the waste from the mouth through the esophagus.
• Gargle with salt water
About once a week, you should do a salt water gargle. Doing this will help kill bacteria and break down lodged particles. Try using lukewarm water for best results.
• Brush your teeth and tongue regularly.
Brushing your teeth is one of the best defenses against bacteria in the mouth. However, many people forget to brush their tongue. Bacteria on the back of the tongue can be a problem for those with common stones near the tonsils.
•Give up smoking
Smoking is a bad habit that can cause both mouth and lung cancer. When you breathe in all those carcinogens into your mouth, you are creating a breeding ground for trouble. Cigarette smoke is toxic to you and those around you.
Final thoughts on tonsil stones
Removing these stones is not complicated. Most people can dislodge them by gargling with warm salt water. Some people remove them with a water stick or cotton swab, but the location and size dictate what you can do.
Like the use of a laser, some more advanced procedures are reserved for more extensive and difficult-to-reach calcifications. Tonsil stones are a common problem that affects many people. They do not become problematic until they reach a larger size which inhibits swallowing and causes an infection.
If you have frequent battles with these stones, you may need to look for various methods to try to prevent them in the future. If you have used all the preventive measures listed above and still have no relief, you may want to consider having your tonsils removed.
According to the National Library of MedicineA tonsillectomy is a standard procedure that removes the host that allows waste to lodge and form stones. It is a minor operation that can give you permanent relief. If you tend to deal with these calcifications in your mouth, they can be troublesome and need a more permanent solution.