Getting halitosis is tough, since the condition can radically change the way your coworkers, friends and family treat you. If you notice that others keep leaving the room, offering you gum or grimacing around you, you may have bad breath. If after brushing and flossing your oral odor persists, it's possible that you have tonsil stones.
Also known as a tonsillolith, a tonsil stone is a whitish or yellowish ball of gunk that can be found in the back of your mouth, usually stuck in one of your tonsils or adenoids. Although they are usually no bigger than a few grains of sand, tonsil stones can pack a really stinky wallop.
While your mouth is full of potential causes of bad breath, few stick around as long as these little specks. Consider the bacteria that coat your tongue: Sure, they give off a real stink, but most microbes don't last very long in an environment that is oxygenated and full of saliva. To generate halitosis, these bacteria need to constantly multiply.
By contrast, the stuff that goes into tonsil stones sits around in your throat for some time, gradually stiffening, rotting and giving off terrible halitosis.
Tonsil stones form when dead cells and small bits of food get caught in the folds of your tonsils. Microorganisms immediately begin growing on these bits, forming a layer of living, stinking goo. More food bits stick to this layer, and then more bacteria stick to the food, and so on. What you're left with is a multilayered object whose smell is built on months of decay. No wonder a tonsillolith can smell like a garbage bin!
Getting rid of tonsil stones means gargling repeatedly with a specialty breath freshening mouthwash, one that can dislodge gunk and neutralize halitosis at the same time.