To learn how to remove tonsil stones, it's important to understand what they are and why they give you bad breath. Fortunately, these little halitosis-causing objects are relatively easy to get rid of, at least compared to serious oral diseases like tooth decay or periodontitis.
Also known as tonsilloliths, they are small, white, round specks that can be found stuck in the folds of your tonsils or adenoids, deep in the back of your throat. You can usually spot them by holding your mouth wide open in front of the mirror and using a flashlight to illuminate your palate and throat.
If you see small whitish or yellowish blobs on either side of your uvula - that little teardrop-shaped thing that hangs down in the back of your throat - these may be tonsil stones. If yours tonsils themselves are coated with white goo, that's different. Consider seeing a doctor, as you may have an infection.
If you've spotted specks, here's how to remove tonsil stones quickly and easily.
- Occasionally, tonsilloliths are loose enough that by coughing or clearing your throat repeatedly, you may be able to dislodge them. Be careful where you spit a tonsil stone. This little ball of gunk is composed of dead cells, food particles and living bacteria, and it will smell absolutely atrocious. It's usually best to throw them away or flush them, since the reek of tonsil stones is so powerful that it can leave a smell on things for days at a time.
- If coughing doesn't do the trick, your next option is to try the following. Open your mouth wide, push the base of your tongue up and forward, and make a hacking sound as you exhale sharply. With luck, this may force one or more stones to pop loose.
- Alternatively, you can try using a cotton swab - the kind you might use to clean your ears - to gently swipe out tonsilloliths. Be careful! Reaching into the back of your throat can be uncomfortable, and you don't want to irritate or injure your delicate tonsil tissue.
- Possibly the best and most effective way to target tonsil stones and bad breath simultaneously is to gargle several times with a specialty breath freshening mouthwash. Doing so can rinse away tonsilloliths, cleanse the folds of your tonsils and neutralize the halitosis caused by the buildup of crud in the back of your throat.