Some people think that the problem is simply fragments of food that have become lodged in the mouth. Others jump to more serious thoughts and think that they are the first signs of throat cancer. However, some dentists believe that the problem is all in their patients' heads.
Tonsil stones can be a difficult problem to diagnose. The condition is relatively rare, and many oral care professionals have never actually encountered a case during their time in practice. However, if you are among the masses who suffer from the affliction, you know from the halitosis and constant discomfort that tonsil stones are very real, and that removing them can be a difficult process.
Tonsil stones most commonly occur in individuals who often have inflamed tonsils due to smoking or frequent tonsillitis. They form after mucus, food debris and other particles get trapped in the folds at the back of the throat. These particles can become hard and calcified, resulting in tonsil stones.
The first sign of the condition is often bad breath. As the mouth tries to break down the particles, it produces foul-smelling odors. Due to the fact that the stone is stuck to the back of the throat, halitosis may be persistent and difficult to alleviate.
If tonsil stones are left untreated, they may grow larger in size. This can become an extremely uncomfortable situation. Many people who have these stones lodged in their throat report intense gagging feelings. Additionally, they can irritate the area around the tonsils, causing inflammation and making it difficult to swallow.
Occasionally, the problem clears itself up. However, those who suffer from tonsil stones must often take steps to resolve the problem. Sometimes the stones can simply be picked off using the tongue, a finger or the head of a toothbrush. However, in rare occasions, some individuals have had to undergo surgery to have their stones removed.
Regardless of the method used to remove the stone, the smell can linger long after it is gone. Individuals may benefit from specialty breath freshening products to help them target the halitosis associated with the condition. Using these products to improve oral health may also help prevent a recurrence of the problem in the future.