Tonsil stones, also known as tonsilloliths, are hardened balls of debris that get stuck within the pockets or crypts of your tonsils. The original purpose of tonsils is to filter out all of the viruses and bacteria that may otherwise invade your body. The idea is that they will help purify your body and help boost your overall immune system. The disadvantage to this is that tonsils are very sensitive and sometimes they do more harm than good.
Tonsilloliths are calcified clusters made up of different materials such as calcium and magnesium. These clusters can be found in various spots, and not just your tonsils. They can attach themselves to the roof of your mouth, as well as the back of your throat. The way that they become attached to your tonsils is when you have a bad throat infection, for example, where your tonsils swell. This creates folds in your tonsils and thus creates the many crypts that appear. These crypts then become perfect homes for tonsil stones to live in.
The knowledge and history of tonsil stones goes very far back. Even in medieval times, around the 10th century, doctors would use the presence of tonsil stones as a means to determine if the tonsils needed to be removed. As far as awareness of this problem in more modern times, the first record of it being mentioned in a professional setting is from the 1800s where it was mentioned in the Medical and Physical Journal in London, England.
It can be very tricky to diagnose and to treat tonsilloliths. Many times, they are not noticeable as they can be very small. When it comes to larger ones, sometimes the person affected may experience certain symptoms such as bad breath or discomfort when swallowing but not major signs. The solution in this situation is to have an x-ray done as that will prove or disprove their presence in your system.
Tonsil Stones can have bad side effects for the person who is affected by them. Some of these symptoms include bad breath, difficulty swallowing, pain when swallowing, and having a metallic taste in the mouth. If the tonsil stones are bad enough, there can also be a feeling of needing to hawk something up as there can be a definite sensation of something stuck in the back of the throat.
Tonsilloliths are never pleasant to deal with but there are ways to help make sure that they don’t come back in the future. Good hygiene practices as well as staying hydrated can help go a long way in getting rid of this nasty problem for good. For many people who are not aware of this problem, they may unknowingly have it and experience issues because of it. Because of this it definitely pays to be informed so that a solution can be reached for this troublesome issue, as well as to help raise awareness so that family members and friends can remain free of tonsil stones in the future.