What are Tonsil Stones?

Posted by Southeast Family Dental Dec 24,2021

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Tonsil stones, or tonsilloliths, affect a lot of people but it’s something that few people talk about. These small lumps that form on your tonsils can cause a range of issues, but the good news is that you don’t have to suffer!

It’s possible to remove these stones and soothe them with home remedies until you do. In this guide, we’ll teach you more about tonsil stones and how you can cope with them.

Are you ready to learn more? Then read on.

What Are Tonsil Stones and What Do They Look Like?

Tonsil stones are small, hard, white, or yellow masses that grow on the tonsils at the back of the mouth. They can resemble small rocks attached to your tonsils, hence the name.

They can be painful, but they may also go unnoticed for some time before they’re noticed. They can also cause bad breath.

What Causes Them?

Your tonsils have many small nooks and crannies, where bacteria can grow. Due to the tonsils’ role being to help boost your immune system and catch bacteria and viruses, they are functioning as intended: stones are an irritating side effect!

When bacteria or small bits of food and other detritus get caught in your tonsils, they build up over time to form tonsil stones.

How Do You Know if You Have Tonsil Stones?

The answer may not be immediately obvious. There are, however, some tell-tale symptoms that you should be aware of:

  • Foul-smelling breath, which is caused by the bacteria in the stones producing chemicals called sulfides
  • Feeling pressure in the back of the mouth: it may feel as though there is something stuck there that you can’t remove
  • Pain or pressure in the ears

If you look in the mirror, you may be able to spot your tonsil stones if they’re big enough. They will look like a small rock stuck to your tonsils. They may also appear as small yellow flecks.

Can a Dentist Remove Them?

If you’re suffering from tonsil stones, you’re probably desperate to know whether a dentist can help you. The answer is yes! A dentist can remove them, so long as they can reach them.

While tonsil stones can and should be removed if they cause irritation, it’s worth having some remedies on hand to soothe any pain or discomfort in the meantime.

Gargling with salt water is a particularly good remedy, as salt is antiseptic. Make a solution of warm water and a spoonful of salt, then gargle it, allowing the salty water to wash over your tonsils. If you’d prefer, you could use mouthwash instead.

The best way to prevent tonsil stones in the future is by maintaining good oral hygiene and having regular dental checkups.

Help Is at Hand

If you suffer from tonsil stones and would like some professional help, we’re here for you. Our expert dentists may be able to remove them and will be able to offer you dental hygiene advice that can prevent them from reoccurring.

Schedule an appointment today! If you have any questions, call us at (317) 359-8000.

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