Even though they are pretty rare, tonsil stones are certainly an infection you definitely don’t want. They can cause numerous annoying symptoms and are a hassle to anyone unfortunate enough to get them.
If you spent some time searching around google then you’ll easily find some methods to help prevent them. But I think you need to know a little more than that to be completely safe.
So in this post I’m going to be explaining what exactly tonsil stones are, how they’re caused and some of their symptoms to make you fully aware of what you’re dealing with.
Hopefully by the end you’ll be much more motivated to take better care of your oral health and prevent their growth as much as possible.
What Are They?
After you eat, food and other debris gets stuck in-between your teeth and gums. This is why you’re told to brush and floss after every meal.
I’d imagine most of you already know this but did you know that small food particles (as well as mucus, deal cells and other debris) can also get stuck within the crypts (basically little craters) on your tonsils after a meal?
Unless you’re a dentist, I doubt you did as this can go easily unnoticed.
This means that most people never clean out there tonsils (including me – before I knew about this) which leads to the food particles building up and up until bad bacteria and fungi begin to feed on it.
After feeding, these bacteria and fungi then secrete a slimy substance that protects other harmful bacteria within the crypt from the body’s immune system.
Over time this slimy substance calcifies (to further improve protection) at varying sizes and dimensions – which are known as tonsil stones (tonsilloliths).
That’s a pretty basic explanation of tonsil stones, which should be sufficient to protect yourself against them, but if you want to learn more about their development then check out this study on ijpediatrics.com.
What Causes Tonsil Stones?
This is basically like asking “what can I do to ensure bad bacteria and fungi are able to thrive within my mouth?”
There are many reasons why some people get tonsil stones but the major ones are not maintaining a good level of oral hygiene, not drinking enough water and consuming alcohol/smoking tobacco.
All of these pretty much ensure that bacteria and fungi have the freedom to do what they like. Mainly because your saliva content drops and you aren’t introducing enough probiotics to your mouth to help combat and neutralize their activity.
So it’s important that you keep on top of all of these things.
To make it easier for you, I’ve listed out a few you can do that will help ensure prevention:
- Drink plenty of water each day and ensure proper hydration: this ensures your saliva levels are high enough.
- Limit your alcohol and tobacco consumption: prevents your salvia levels from being depleted
- Brush your teeth 3-4 times per day, preferably after every meal: this cleans out your mouth of small particles or bacteria that could develop the problem.
- Floss after every meal and after brushing your teeth: same reason as above.
- Gargle salt water on a daily basis: this helps clean out your mouth and tonsils of bad bacteria (make sure you tilt your head back slightly)
- Gargle with Apple Cider Vinegar on a daily basis: same reason as above but it benefits your health a little more (don’t use both salt water and ACV, choose between the two).
They’re just a few examples of what you can do and you don’t necessarily need to do all of them. However, if you want to ensure prevention then I would.
To learn more about how you can prevent the growth of tonsil stones, check out https://www.howtogetridoftonsilstones.org/how-to-prevent-tonsil-stones/.
To give you a clearer picture as to why you really don’t want to get tonsil stones, I thought it would be a good idea to tell you about some of their symptoms.
Tonsil stones affect people in different ways and not everyone experiences all of their proposed problems, some people don’t even notice them at all. However that doesn’t mean some symptoms aren’t more common than others.
I’ve listed some of these below:
- Throat pain – 27.3%
- Swelling of the tonsillar fossa (gums above tonsils) – 15.1%
- Struggle/difficulty when swallowing – 12.1%
- Pain when swallowing – 9%
- Ear pain – 9%
- Further Infection – 9%
- Swelling of the sub-maxillary triangle area (I would google it) – 6%
- Bad breath/bad taste – 3%
(These examples and their accompanied percentages were found in the study Panoramic Radiographic Appearance of Giant Bilateral Tonsilloliths – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5020283/)
As you can see, none of these symptoms are particularly pleasant and all could put a real damper on your day to day life. So I think you would want to avoid them as much as possible.
Now that you’ve read through this post, I hope you will take my advice and try to prevent tonsil stones as best you can. Given how annoying then can be, they really aren’t worth your time.
Image By U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class Jeremy L. Wood. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons