If you have halitosis, feel the unshakable urge to clear your throat and see small, white specks at the back of your throat, you may be suffering from tonsil stones. These little accumulations of food, bacteria and other gunk can leave your breath smelling atrocious. Here's a discussion of what causes them, followed by an explanation of how to get rid of tonsil stones in the comfort of your home.
Also called tonsilloliths, tonsil stones occur when small bits of food get caught in your tonsils, which are those small, lumpish glands in the back of your throat. Over time, this accumulation of food breeds bacteria. These microbes live on the surface of the trapped particles, digesting food and dead cells and, as a byproduct of their digestion, pumping smelly compounds into your mouth.
It is these substances that you may smell when you breathe into your cupped hands. You see, tonsil stones almost always cause powerful bad breath, according to an article in the British Dental Journal. These little objects are so pungent, in fact, that once removed, they can stain anything they touch with an unforgettable stench, one that lasts for days.
Want to know how to get rid of tonsil stones? Here are a few simple, at-home remedies for tonsilloliths.
- Coughing. Though it may sound too simple to be true, tonsil stones can occasionally be dislodged with a few strong hacks. For added force, push the root of your tongue up and forward, as if you're trying to squeeze the tonsils themselves. Remember to cough into bath tissue, since you do no want tonsil stones landing anywhere other than the trash bin.
- Cotton swabs. If you don't mind reaching into the back of your mouth with a small object, you can use a cotton swab to gently wipe tonsil stones off of your tonsils. However, be careful. This remedy risks the risk of poking sensitive tissue or, worse still, choking. Better still might be to use...
- Specialty breath freshening rinses. Using an alcohol-based mouthwash may not do much for tonsilloliths, especially since alcohol can dry out your palate, allowing bacteria to grow wild. However, gargling with a specialty breath freshening rinse may do the trick, dislodging tonsil stones and minimizing bad breath all at once. Try to stick to oxygenating products that are made with healthier ingredients.