Do you suffer from bad breath frequently, or do you feel sever pain when swallowing? Do you suffer from sore throat or have metallic taste sometimes, even though you have no obvious reason to feel like that? Well, believe it or not, you may be suffering from tonsil stones.
Chances are you haven’t heard anything about tonsil stones, which is because tonsil stones is an embarrassing issue, not a common topic to discuss with colleagues and acquaintances, or to share on a Friday night with your spouse and family.
But despite the anonymity of this illness, tonsil stones are quite abundant. There is no clear statistics, but among doctors there is an assumption that a decent percent of the population suffer from Tonsil Stones. In French alone, out of 500 CT scans, 31 patients were diagnosed with tonsil stones – above 6%!
So what are tonsil stones?
Tonsil Stones are lumps of calcified material that form in the fleshy pad at the back of the throat(tonsils). They mainly affect the palatine tonsils but can also occur in the lingual tonsils. Tonsil stones weigh between 0.3g and 42g. They are mainly composed of calcium. Other minerals such as ammonia, phosphorus, magnesium and carbonate may also present but in very small deposits.
Tonsil Stones are created when the trapped debris in the tonsils calcifies. The tonsils are filled with crannies and nooks where bacteria, dead cells and mucus become clogged to. The trapped materials then form a debris, which accumulates in white formations in the pockets. The debris may be big enough to protrude and get clogged in the tonsil crypt. Tonsil stones are among the major causes of bad breath. They are more common in people who have suffered chronic inflammation in their tonsil or have had repeated bouts of tonsil stones.
Also, its a known fact that they are more common in children than in adults.
How to get rid of tonsil stones naturally?
If we could always get rid of tonsil stones without any medical intervention (like medications or surgery), this would be the best way… but unfortunately, its not always so easy.
The possible treatment for tonsil stones will depend on the size of the stones and the level of discomfort caused by the stones. Once you notice the tonsil stones growing, you can remove them using various home techniques. However, for large tonsil stones, medical treatments are recommended. There are a variety of options on how to get rid of tonsil stones.
Salty water gargle
Salt water gargling is one of the best and common ways to cure tonsil stones. Regular gargling with salt water or non-alcoholic mouth wash will prevent accumulation of tonsil stones as well as eliminate the foul smell caused by the stones. If you already have a sore throat, gargling with salty water will help get rid of it. Salt water will also flush out small debris such as mucus, food particles and other materials which have accumulated in the tonsils.
Drinking water regularly
This is an and simple and effective remedy for tonsil stones. Water keeps the body hydrated and creates an environment which does not have the basic conditions for the survival of bacteria. In addition, drinking water regularly helps the cleaning up of debris and other materials along the cavity. It prevents those substances from accumulating at the tonsils resulting in the formation of tonsil stones. Tonsils is an important part of the immune system and and foreign objects passing through the lymphatic system often tend to be trapped inside it.
Using cotton swabs
Cotton swabs are a good remedy to push off the tonsil from the walls of the tonsils. Before using cotton swabs, you should wet both ends to make it gentle on the tonsils. You should do this in front of a mirror and use a flashlight to locate the stones. Use the wet cotton swabs to loosen the stones and then remove them gently from the tonsil walls. Once you are done, you should gargle your mouth using salt water or mouthwash to remove remaining particles and other debris.
Using a toothbrush
You can use an electric tooth brush or the ordinary toothbrush. When using the ordinary soft bristle toothbrush, you should have a flashlight to locate the position of the tonsil stones. Use the toothbrush bristles to apply pressure on the tonsil till they loosen. Push them off and use a mouthwash to remove the remaining small stones. If you are using the electric tooth brush, switch it on and apply pressure on the areas you can locate the stones. Using the backside of the vibrating toothbrush, scrub the stones gently to break them up. After you are done, use a mouthwash to cleanse the mouth and get rid of remaining particles.
Drinking lemon juice
Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C which is instrumental in removing tonsil stones. Mix at least 3 tablespoons of lemon with warm water. You can add some flavor if you like. Once it’s fully mixed, drink and gargle around the tonsils to remove the stones and cleanse the affected area.
Eating Raw Garlic Cloves and raw onions.
Garlic contains anti-bacteria properties to help remove any form of bacteria. Tonsil stones are a bacterial infection and garlic will work perfect with this condition. Simply chew raw garlic cloves several times a day and you will keep the doctor away. It will remove the bacteria causing the formation of the stones.
The raw onions also have an anti-bacterial properties and it’s helpful in maintaining a proper oral health and preventing oral infections. Eat at least 3 onions daily to help remove the tonsil stones and get rid of the bacteria causing the formation of the stones. Onions will also get rid of the foul smell associated with tonsil stones.
Eating natural yogurt will is a good home remedy for tonsil stones. It has a component called probiotic which is a beneficial bacteria to help remove the harmful bacteria. This works by removing the bacteria formed at the tonsils. The bacteria will also prevent future occurrence the tonsil stones but cleansing out all harmful bacteria from the tonsils and other body parts.
Lime has been in existence for long and it’s known for its medicinal properties. Lime juice can also be used to remove the tonsil stones. Mix the lime juice with a glass of water. You can add flavors if you like or take it this way. Drink the diluted lime juice slowly so that it gets in contact with where the tonsils stones are attached. This will help clean and remove the bacteria and prevent its future occurrence.
Eat a balanced diet
Eating the proper diet will help remove and treat tonsil stones. Eating diets rich in vitamins and probiotics will help the body get rid of tonsil stones. Probiotics-rich diet contains a friendly bacteria that fights unfriendly bacteria which is responsible for the tonsil stones formation. Changing to a vegetarian diet can also help remove the tonsil stones. Vegetables such as carrots, spinach, tomatoes, etc. make the mouth watery making it harsh for bacteria to thrive. However, you should reduce the intake of dairy products which increase mucus as well as calcium. This two components cause the formation of tonsil stones.
Maintain good oral hygiene
Failure to maintain a proper oral hygiene is the main cause for the formation of tonsil stones. The bacteria in the mouth causes the formation of tonsil stones from accumulated food particles and other debris. The bacteria can be reduced by regularly brushing your teeth using recommended toothpastes, changing toothbrush regularly, gargling using mouth wash or salt water, tongue scraping, etc.
How to get rid of tonsil stones with medical treatment
Medical treatments are recommended when the tonsil stones enlarge causing a lot of discomfort and patients may experience difficulties when swallowing food. Patient can choose to totally remove the tonsils, treat them or take antibiotics. The choice of the treatment method with depend on the cause i.e. bacteria or viral infection. Doctors will perform a rapid strep test by swabbing on the back of the throat using a cotton swab. The test will determine the cause and the doctor will prescribe various medical treatment options on how to get rid of tonsil stones depending on the results of the test. S/he will recommend antibiotics, tonsillectomy or the laser treatment.
Antibiotics provide a short term treatment for tonsil stones. The commonly used antibiotic is amoxicillin. This antibiotic works by creating an environment in which bacteria cannot thrive. It prevents them from building a cell wall without which they cannot survive. However, the antibiotic will not remove the bacteria from the tonsils and this treatment is short-lived. It reduces the impact of the bacteria but cannot prevent it from forming in future. The bacteria will become immune to the antibiotics with time. Patients may experience various side effects including fever, diarrhea and vomiting.
The other medical treatment is a surgical procedure to completely remove the tonsils stones. This should be taken as a last resort when the symptoms become adverse. Usually, this treatment is recommended when patients experience frequent Tonsilloliths, persistent bad breath, swollen tonsils and enlargement of tonsil stones making it hard to swallow food.
Tonsillectomy is the most preferred treatment and doctors can choose to perform a partial tonsillectomy or completely remove the tonsils. The partial tonsillectomy is less painful and the patients opting for this method experience faster recovery as compared to the complete surgery. Tonsils are a functional component of the immune system and it is not recommended to completely remove them. The partial tonsillectomy does not completely remove the tonsil and is recommended if the tonsils are still in good shape.
Patients undergoing the complete tonsillectomy experience considerable pain and the recovery period takers longer. The method is usually discouraged for older people since they take a long period to recover. However, children can recover fully within two weeks unlike in adults where it may take one month or more. The treatment utilizes a procedure called coblation and it takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete. It is performed under a local anesthesia
After surgery complications
Patients undergoing the surgical process may experience various complications including earache, fever, headaches and a painful throat. Patients may also experience a bad breath during the recovery process. Patients can chew a gum to keep the jaws working as well as stop a bad breath. Other symptoms may include dehydration, constipation, bleeding, etc. If you experience excessive bleeding, you should visit a doctor.
This medical treatment involves using a laser to remove the tonsil stones. This method is less painful and the recovery process is shorter than the tonsillectomy. Patients undergoing this treatment can resume their diets and normal activities in a week. However, this treatment is a short-term treatment and the tonsil stones may appear in future since the process leaves the tonsil tissues behind. The laser treatment only removes the tonsil crypt from where the stones developed.
All the medical treatment options which were presented in the article are safe and effective, but only your physician will recommend the best treatment for you, after assessing the extent of the tonsil stones. In some severe cases, it is important to remove them. However, the best choice is to prevent the appearance of the tonsil stones beforehand by maintaining proper hygiene and good health habits.