4 Effective Ways to Remove Tonsil Stones Without Surgery
Sometimes you can get a feeling like you have something stuck in your throat and you might seem to notice these little white nuggets. These nuggets are actually tonsil stones and a lot of people might have them, and not be aware of it.
Even if you’ve never heard of tonsil stones, it’s not unlikely that you’ve had them before without knowing it or that you even have them at this very moment. It’s true, tonsil stones are extremely common. How do you get tonsil stones? What is a tonsil stone? Anyone with tonsils can get tonsil stones. Simply put, a tonsil stone is a build up of debris that gets lodged in the tonsil and becomes hard. Some experts say they are “kind of like acne of the tonsils.” (1)
Tonsil stones are typically harmless, but they can sometimes cause discomfort. They can also cause some really unwanted symptoms like bad breath. At least one scientific study has revealed that tonsil stones are actually quite similar to the dental plaque responsible for cavities and gum disease. (2) Left to their own devices, tonsil stone can continue to grow larger and are a haven for bacteria. So, while tonsil stones may not be dangerous, they’re not desirable either. Sometimes, they can be a sign of poor oral hygiene.
If you’ve ever knowingly had a tonsil stone, you may also already know that tonsil stones smell unpleasant — sometimes outright disgusting! You can thank their sulphur content for that gross aroma. I just mentioned bad oral hygiene — do you brush and floss regularly and are wondering “why do I get tonsil stones?” I’m about to tell you what causes these odd little oral formations. I also want to tell you how to prevent tonsil stones in the first place and how to remove tonsil stones safely using natural methods.
What are Tonsil Stones?
First off, do you know what and where your tonsils are? In the back of your throat are two small masses of soft tissue that are a part of the infection-fighting lymphatic system. These gland-like structures are your tonsils. They contain lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that ward off and fight infections in your body. Your tonsils are a first line defense of the immune system since everything that goes into your mouth must pass by them before entering your body. The tonsils can actually catch and trap invading particles like bacteria when they pass through your throat. (3)
Now what are tonsil stones exactly? Tonsil stones — also called tonsilloliths, tonsil calculi or tonsillar crypts — occur when bacteria and debris gather in the tonsils and harden forming calcified lumps. Food, dead cells, bacteria, mucus and other debris can collect in the grooves or crypts on the surface of your tonsils. When this various material gets stuck on your tonsils, your body’s infection-fighting white blood cells go to work trying to get rid of what doesn’t belong. When the white blood cells finish their job, they leave behind calcified bits on the tonsils. Usually, and unknowingly, these get swallowed. But, if these calcified particles get stuck in the tonsils, then they continue to grow and bacteria will feed on them. These are tonsil stones. They are hard, white or yellowish formations on the tonsil. They can be visible to the naked eye. (4)
If you’ve ever had a tonsil stone, then you’re probably familiar with what a foul odor can come from such a small formation. The various contents of the tonsil stone provide a feeding ground for bacteria, which creates the unpleasant scent of tonsil stones. In most cases, a tonsil stone won’t be any larger than the eraser of a pencil, but there have been reports of tonsil stones over an inch wide! (5)
Signs & Symptoms
Tonsil stone symptoms can be nonexistent if your tonsil stones are very small. However, if they are larger, then symptoms are more likely.
Symptoms of tonsil stones can include: (6)
• White or yellow flecks at the back of your throat: If you look in the mirror and see a white or yellow lump in on your tonsil, then you likely have a tonsil stone. However, sometimes the folds of the tonsil will block a stone from your sight.
• Bad breath: Tonsil stones smell bad, which can lead to one of the tell-tale signs of tonsil stones — bad breath. A study of people with chronic tonsil stones found that 75 percent of them had abnormally high concentrations of volatile sulphur compounds in their breath also had tonsil stones. Those sulfur compounds are what are responsible for bad breath as well as the nasty scent of tonsil stones.
• Sore throat: Sometimes a tonsil stone can cause pain and discomfort in the throat.
• Trouble swallowing: If the stone is large enough, it could get in the way of normal swallowing of food and drink.
• Tonsil swelling: Tonsil stones are a breeding ground for sulphur-producing bacteria (hence, the previous symptom of bad breath) and can sometimes cause the tonsils to become inflamed.
• Ear pain: Your tonsil stone may be far from making contact with your ear, but sometimes people with tonsil stones experience ear pain due to shared nerve channels.
Causes & Risk Factors
So now you know what they are, but do you know what causes tonsil stones?
Possible causes of tonsil stones include: (7)
• Poor dental hygiene
• Chronic sinus issues
• Having large tonsils
So are you at risk? As long as you have tonsils then you have some risk of developing these little masses known as tonsil stones because they can happen to anyone, even when you have no other illness or health issue present. However, tonsil stones are more likely in people who have chronic tonsil inflammation and/or repeated cases of tonsillitis. (8)
WHY DO TONSIL STONES APPEAR?
The tonsil stones develop when the bacteria, mucus, dead skin cells and leftover food particles begin to deposit in the tonsil crypts. They can be whitish or yellowish and their texture is soft and squishy. What they can lead to is throat irritation, bad breath, difficulty swallowing food and breathing problems.\
WHO CAN SUFFER FROM TONSIL STONES?
The risk of contracting tonsil stones is much bigger if you have been suffering from chronic inflammation of the tonsils, if they are big or if your oral hygiene is not very good. Naturally, what is best for treating tonsil stones is a tonsillectomy or removing them surgically. Nevertheless, this does not guarantee that they will not return again. Also, when you eliminate them, what you do is remove a part of the immunity which is very crucial for prevention of bacteria and viruses to enter the body.
ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO REMOVE TONSIL STONES
Of course, there are other ways to remove tonsil stones beside surgery and they can be done in the comfort of your own home. Let’s discuss some of them.
What these strains of good bacteria can do is suffocate the bad bacteria in the mouth caused by the tonsil stones. One of the most effective probiotic against tonsil stones is S. salivarius K12. Just take one probiotic capsule, open it and mix the content with 4 oz of warm water, stir and let it dissolve in the water. Once it does, swish it in the mouth close to the tonsil stones. Just tilt your head back before you spit it out. Another solutions for this would be chewing gums or toothpaste.
This is a method for flossing with water, instead of a strings. It has a motor, water reservoir and a specialized water flosser nozzle. In order to remove the tonsil stones, the nozzle has to be put at the tonsil crevices to blast them out. Just make sure you are not very aggressive so you do not hurt the tonsils. Just set the irrigator at lowest and you are good to go.
DENTAL IRRIGATION SYRINGES
Point the syringe directly at the pockets of the tonsils with stones to flush them out. They will help remove even the stones that are deeper in the tonsils and those that are not very visible. Just keep your head down so that they can fall out of the mouth. This mixture needs to be combined from equal parts of warm water and 3% hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen will aid in removing the stones. This is due to the fact that it will create an environment where the bacteria will not be able to thrive.
If you take a long and big Q-tip you will be able to reach the back of the throat and remove the tonsil stones with ease. Just push the visible area of the tonsils gently with the Q-tip until they get dislodged. You can do this in front of a mirror. If you apply just enough pressure they will pop out from behind the tonsil pockets.
Now that you are informed enough on all the alternative ways to remove tonsil stones from the comfort of your own home, forget all about the surgeries and just do it by yourself.
It’s easy for a person to feel a little weird when they notice they have little white nuggets lodged in their tonsils. The official name for these little white nuggets is tonsil stones, and many people who have them don’t even know they have them.
What Causes Them?
Tonsil stones develop when mucus, bacteria, dead skin cells, and leftover food particles build up inside the tonsil crypts (the pockets of the tonsils). These tonsil stones often have a white to yellowish color, and have a soft and squishy texture.
When they develop these stones can cause various oral health issues such as chronic bad breath due to the anaerobic bacteria that causes them. A lot of people who have tonsil stones will also feel as if there is something stuck in the middle of their throat. As you can imagine this can leave your throat irritated, make it difficult to swallow food, and even cause breathing problems.
Who Gets Them?
You are more likely to experience tonsil stones if you suffer from chronic inflammation of the tonsils, don’t practice good oral hygiene, and if your tonsils are abnormally big.
Many people who have to deal with these smelly little balls on a daily basis want to just get a tonsillectomy and be done with it.
However, removing your tonsils doesn’t always guarantee that the tonsil stones won’t return in the future. Furthermore, removing your tonsils is like taking out part of your immune system needed to prevent bacteria and viruses from entering your body through your mouth.
Tonsil Stone Removal Methods
Thankfully there are plenty of tonsil stone removal methods that don’t require surgically removing your tonsils. In fact, many of these tonsil stone removal methods don’t require much but some simple household items to dig those little suckers out.
One of the easiest ways to dig tonsil stones out from your tonsils is to use a Q-tip. However, in order to use a Q-tip effectively the tonsil stones you’re trying to remove have to be big enough for you to see and reach at the back of your throat.
If they are big and visible enough for you to reach simply take a Q-tip and push on the area of your tonsils where you see them until they’re dislodged. Make sure you take your time and gently press on the tonsils with the q-tip so that you don’t gag yourself too much.
As you press on the tonsils you’re going to want to apply just enough pressure to make the stones pop out from behind your tonsil pockets. It’s best to get in front of the mirror so you can see what you’re doing back there a little better.
Dental Irrigation Syringes
These dental irrigation syringes have a plastic pointy curved tip that you can use to stream water or mouthwash inside your mouth. In order to flush stones out of your tonsils you should point the curved tip of the syringe directly at the pockets in your tonsils affected with the stones.
Unlike q-tips these syringes are great for removing tonsil stones deep in your tonsils that you can’t see but feel are there. When you use a syringe to flush out your stones it’s best to use a mirror so you can see a little better inside your mouth and improve your aim.
You also want to keep your down so that the tonsil stones fall out your mouth instead of going back down your throat. Other than just plain water you can mix equal parts of 3% hydrogen peroxide with warm water and use this mixture in the syringe to spray out the stones.
The hydrogen peroxide will make this tonsil stone removal method more effective because it provides your mouth with more oxygen that creates an environment where the tonsil stone causing bacteria can’t survive. The more you use this hydrogen peroxide mixture the better chance you’ll have of preventing the stones from returning after you’ve flushed them out.
Doing this simple and inexpensive syringe rinse on a daily basis will not only prevent new tonsil stones from forming, but also stop the nasty odor and taste that comes along with them.
One of the best ways to remove tonsil stones is to use a waterpik. A waterpik is pretty much a water flosser that comes with a motor, water reservoir, and a specialized water flosser nozzle.
This dental appliance was created for those who prefer flossing with water instead of a piece of string. To use it for getting rid of tonsil stones you want to position the nozzle directly at the tonsil crevices where the stones are lodged and blast them out.
Just be-careful as you use the waterpik because it can hurt your tonsils if you’re too aggressive with it. The best thing to do is set the waterpik on the lowest setting before you begin blasting out the small stones from your tonsils.
If you want a little more power bring the setting up to the half way mark and resume spraying out the tonsil stones. Just remember to place the nozzle of the waterpik directly in the pockets of your tonsils where the stones are hiding so it can be more effective.
Oral pro-biotics are strains of good bacteria that will suffocate the bad bacteria in your mouth responsible for the formation of the tonsil stones. The most effective oral pro-biotic strain to fight off the tonsil stone causing bacteria is known as S. salivarius K12.
One effective way to use pro-biotics to cure your tonsil stones is to use them as a mouthwash. To do this you’ll need to get a pro-biotic capsule and then pop it open. Pour the contents inside the opened pro-biotic capsule into about 4 ounces of warm water and stir it up.
Make sure you mix it thoroughly so all the contents of the pro-biotic capsule dissolves in the warm water. Once you’re done mixing go ahead and begin gargling the pro-biotic solution around in your mouth making sure you hit all the crevices in your tonsils where you believe stones to be.
You also want to tilt your head back a little and gargle the pro-biotic mouthwash around the back of your throat for at least a minute before spitting it out. The more you rinse your mouth out with this pro-biotic mouthwash the more good bacteria you’ll build up in your mouth and crowd out the bad ones.
There are other oral pro-biotic products you can use to get rid of tonsil stones such as chewing gums and toothpastes. The more oral pro-biotic products you take advantage of the better chance the good bacteria will have to kill the bacteria causing the formation of your stones.
If you have tonsil stones it’s best to try all of these tonsil stone removal methods listed above before turning to tonsillectomy to get rid of these little critters. These removal methods are cheap, safe, and won’t require the painful removal of your tonsils.