Tonsil stones are structurally similar to glands that might appear at the back of throat. The tissues of tonsil stones consist of cells known as lymphocytes. These cells helps the body fight against infections. The main purpose of tonsils in human body is to act like a filtering net and prevent the virus and bacteria particles to pass from throat to human body. Sometimes the tonsils may be filled with mucous, bacteria and dead cells. When these germs are trapped they get concentrated into a white substance which gradually hardens forming a structure similar to stones or debris. These unnecessary formations in throat are called tonsilloliths or tonsil stones. Generally, tonsils stones occur in palatine tonsils but in some cases they could also appear in lingual tonsils. Research has discovered that tonsil stones are mainly composed of phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, carbonate, or ammonia. In short, tonsil stones are not harmful but they are difficult to remove and can cause bad breadth or halitosis.
How tonsil stones are formed?
Tonsil stones generally do not have any symptoms and therefore they are very hard to detect. As these occur within crevices they can even remain unnoticed until radiological inspections discover their presence. Scientific research has discovered that cause of tonsil stones is a direct consequence of accumulation of mucous, bacteria, dead cells, and other food particles in the tonsil crypts. These stones are located in a tiny area surrounding the exterior surface of the tonsils called crevices. These particles gradually harden within the microscopic pocket like structure into a miniscule white-stone like debris which may be visible. Other symptoms like bad breath, difficulty in swallowing, sore throat and occasional ear pain could also indicate presence of tonsil stones.
How to get rid of tonsil stones?
As mentioned earlier, tonsil stones are not harmful except causing bad breath and nuisance. Some people are able to get rid of tonsil stones with the tip of their tongue and often no further treatment is needed. A simple yet effective method to get rid of tonsil stones is to try oral irrigators. However, one should note that electric oral irrigator may not be a good option because they are very powerful and can rupture tonsils and further complicate infections. The oral irrigators are directly connected to sink tap and regular washing tonsils with low pressure jet water streams can remove the stones from tonsil. As a preventive measure one can regularly gargle in the morning with warm salty water which helps to clean the tonsil body and dislodge the stones. In some cases it was found that the process of burping resulting from ingestion of carbonated beverages can also remove tonsil stones. Some other ways to get rid of tonsil stones are:
Laser – With the help of laser treatment one can decrease the surface area of tonsil that will prevent bacterial substances to concentrate. This process is performed with local anesthesia and is known as laser cryptolysis. This technique prevents trapped materials in tonsils to form stones.
Curettage – This method is suitable for people having large tonsils glands. With this process the stones are scooped-out and further irrigation and treatment will be required to cure bad breath issues.
Surgery – Tonsil stones may also be removed with the help of surgery.