Successfully treating tonsil stones involves using tonsil stone removal techniques at home or having them removed surgically. Tonsil stones are medically referred to as tonsilloliths and form within the tiny crevices comprising the surface of the tonsils. Bacteria, mucus and dead cells constitute tonsil stones, which eventually appear as white specks on a person's tonsils after the material has coagulated and calcified.
Due to the "germ netting" function of tonsils as helpers of the immune system, tonsil stones tend to develop on the tonsils of modern humans as a result of our environment possessing thousands of times more bacteria and viruses than it did millions of years ago. At one time, tonsils were extremely useful in protecting ancestral humans from disease. Now, they often cause chronic respiratory ailments and, unfortunately, tonsil stones simply because there are millions of new types of bacteria living in the modern environment.
People who suffer from recurrent tonsillitis frequently experience tonsil stones requiring effective tonsil stone removal. Symptoms of tonsillitis include:
- Bright red, inflamed tonsils or tonsils coated with a yellowish film
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Fever and earache
Usually when tonsils are swollen the adenoids are swollen as well. Adenoids, or pharyngeal tonsils, are located in the area between the throat and the back of the nose and basically perform the same functions as the tonsils of filtering bacteria to prevent infection. Nearly 100 percent of the time a tonsillectomy is implemented, surgeons will also remove the adenoids because of their close connection to tonsils.
While tonsillitis is often treated with antibiotics, this medication does not reduce the appearance of tonsil stones but only the manifestation of infection and inflammation symptoms. As a result, repeated bouts with tonsillitis (and tonsil stones) are only permanently preventable by tonsil stone removal and the excision of adenoids.
Symptoms of Tonsil Stones
Generally, individuals who experience regular occurrences of tonsillitis, or inflammation of the tonsils, suffer from tonsil stones more than others who have, for the most part, healthy tonsils. Symptoms of tonsil stones do not severely impact a person's lifestyle physically but they are uncomfortable enough to warrant tonsil stone removal measures.
Signs of possible tonsil stones include:
- Bad breath--individuals who suffer from bad breath even after attacking the problem with extra daily brushings and frequent use of mouthwash may have tonsil stones. Because tonsils stones contain mouth debris primarily made up of active bacteria, they emit large amounts of sulfur that cause bad breath. These anaerobic bacteria thrive in conditions that are lacking in oxygen but rich in food particles and post-nasal mucus. As a result, tonsil stones emit odorous sulfur compounds resembling the smell of rotting eggs. This kind of halitosis is especially noticeable when someone with tonsil stones accidentally bites down on one that has become dislodged from a tonsil crevice.
- Sore throat--although a sore throat may be caused by tonsillitis, the presence of tonsil stones may worsen the sore throat. The discomfort of a tonsil stone is often more intense around the area of the tonsil in which it is lodged.
- Visible white spots--sometimes it is possible to see the tonsil stones if they are large enough and emerge from small tonsil crevices. Other methods used to detect tonsil stones are by non-invasive scanning techniques like MRI and CT scans.
- Coughing up small pieces of tonsil stones
- Problems with swallowing (dysphagia)--some people may experience pain when swallowing due to the size and/or location of the tonsil stones.
- Earache/ear pain--because the throat and ears share nerve pathways, tonsils stones may cause pain in the ear, depending on the location of the stone.
- Tonsil inflammation and swelling--when enough material collects and solidifies to produce tonsil stones, the hard stones embedded in tonsil crevices may inflame sensitive tonsil tissues and cause them to swell.
- Other, less frequent symptoms are coughing fits, experiencing an odd, metallic taste in the mouth and the sensation of the throat closing prior to swallowing.
Although a person with tonsil stones could suffer from any one or all of these problems, the condition may also present itself as asymptomatic, or without physical symptoms other than bad breath. Before a diagnosis of tonsil-stone-causing halitosis can be officially made, patients should visit a dentist to rule out mouth infections, abscesses or cavities that will also produce bad breath.
Tonsil Stone Removal Methods
Because tonsils stones are usually quite small--less than 1/2 millimeter in diameter--they can often be removed at home. It is rare for tonsil stones to grow larger than 1/2 millimeter in size.
- A common tonsil stone removal method uses a Q-tip to dislodge the stone from the tonsil's raisin-like crevices.
- Regular use of saltwater gargles may remove stones after several days but the gargling needs done at least three times a day in a vigorous manner. Some people use seltzer water, carbonated drinks or club soda in place of saltwater. Gargles tend to reduce the amount of bacteria swarming all over the tonsils, which then relieves tonsil swelling. Alternatively, carbonated beverages are better at loosening tonsil stones and eliminating them altogether.
- Irrigating the back of the throat with an oral irrigator is another method of tonsil stone removal that also cleans tonsil crevices and may help prevent future formations of tonsil stones. However, the spray of water from an oral irrigator should be low in order to lessen the chance of further irritating inflamed tonsils. Using an irrigator designed to connect to the sink is suggested since the water spray can be adjustable by turning the tap.
- Tonsillectomies represent the most invasive way to permanently eliminate chronic tonsil stone formation. It is as surgical technique in which the doctor removes the tonsils by cutting them out of the throat. The procedure usually takes less than an hour and is performed in an out-patient clinic environment. Patients undergoing tonsillectomies are sent home the same day of the surgery and are generally well enough to return to regular daily activities within two to three days.
Tonsil Stones Removal Kits by TheraBreath®
Dr. Katz offers two tonsil stone removal kits specially designed for easy, painless removal and prevention of tonsil stones. The Tonsil Stones Starter Kit contains TheraBreath Nasal-Sinus drops, AktivOxigen tablets,a mixing bottle for the AktivOxigen solution, one roll of ZOX mints and one TheraBreath PLUS Extinguisher Spray. All of these items directly prevent the formation of tonsil stones due to the ability of naturally formulated ingredients to inhibit accumulation of food particles, mucus and other mouth debris conducive to bacterial activity and tonsil stone calcification.
For extended protection against tonsil stones, TheraBreath's Tonsil Stones Deluxe Kit provides all the ingredients included in the Starter Kit along with one TheraBreath toothpaste, TheraBreath oral rinse, one AktivOxigen serum, extra sheets of AktivOxigen tablets and three rolls of ZOX mints.
Easy to understand instructions are included with each kit so that users can immediately begin preventing the development of tonsil stones and the bad breath they produce.
Can Tonsil Stones Be Prevented?
When a tonsillectomy is not an option, people suffering from chronic tonsil stones may choose to remove stones through an expensive laser cryptolysis procedure. After vaporizing the tonsil stones with a CO2 laser, an ear, nose and throat physician (ENT)reshapes the crevices and pits of the tonsil surfaces using the laser to erase tiny depressions to create a smoother surface. Since bacteria and mucus have no place to collect and calcify on a smooth-surfaced tonsil, stones are unable to form because mouth debris simply slides off the unwrinkled tonsils.
However, Dr. Katz's Tonsil Stones Removal kit provides a guaranteed, surgery-free method of eliminating tonsil stones for a mere fraction of what it costs to undergo laser cryptolysis or a tonsillectomy.