Many people are familiar with the condition of stones forming in the body, such as kidney stones or gall stones, but did you know that stones can also form on your tonsils? Here is what tonsil stones are and how to tell if you have them:
What Are Tonsil Stones?
As with other types of stones that appear in the body, tonsil stones are deposits of calcified dead cells and bacteria. Tonsils are lymph nodes intended to block infections from reaching the lungs, and when the white blood cells inside of them leave behind debris while fighting off infections it can build up on the glands over time and form what we see as tonsil stones.
Tonsil stones form in the grooves on the surface of the tonsil glands themselves and usually appear as hard, white bumps. They can be very small or quite large if left in place for a long time, though this is rare.
How Do You Know If You Have Tonsil Stones?
Tonsil stones are most common in people who have chronic inflammation of the tonsil glands or who have poor oral hygiene. If you have swollen tonsils and suffer from bad breath and a sore throat, you may want to see if you have tonsil stones by checking the back of your throat in the mirror.
How Are Tonsil Stones Treated?
If you have mild or moderate tonsil stones, no medical treatment is necessary as they can usually be easily removed. Many people gently dislodge them using a toothbrush, cotton swab, or water flosser, followed by gargling with warm salt water to clear away any leftover debris.
Larger tonsil stones may be more difficult to remove by yourself and may require surgery, particularly if they occur along with tonsillitis. If you have recurring tonsil stones and inflammation of the glands, your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy to prevent further issues.
A good oral care regimen is one of the ways to prevent tonsil stones from forming. Don’t forget to brush, floss, and use a good mouthwash daily. High Point Family Dentistry looks forward to helping all of our patients keep their mouths clean and healthy.
Contact our office to schedule your next appointment!