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What Is a Tonsil Stone?

Do you have a sore, uncomfortable feeling in your throat? Do you have trouble swallowing or notice chronic bad breath? These symptoms could mean that you have a tonsil stone, a calcified formation in the nodes at the back of your mouth and throat.

Though irritating, a tonsil stone will rarely create larger oral health problems for you. But to relieve discomfort, you might want to know how to deal with them.

Large or stubborn tonsil stones might need attention from your dentist. But a dentist will also provide advice to prevent their development in the first place. Read on to learn more about the formation, treatment, and prevention of tonsil stones.

What Is a Tonsil Stone

Causes of Tonsil Stones

The tonsils function to filter germs and harmful particles that may attempt to enter your body through the throat. They trap them within crevices called tonsillar crypts. But mucus, food crumbs, and more might become stuck there, where they may calcify and form stones.

These hard materials do not always cause pain or majorly disrupt your daily life. But tonsil stones like these could give you bad breath and increase your risk of infections like strep throat.  You might see tonsil stones at the back of your throat, or you could have a feeling that something is stuck there when you form these stones.

Treatment Options for Tonsil Stones

In many cases, tonsil stones will dislodge and go away on their own. But you can use at-home care to eradicate them as well. Gargling with salt water might remove these stones, as well as rinsing the mouth and throat with apple cider vinegar. This can break down the stone, making it easier to remove.

A dentist can diagnose tonsil stones with a visual exam or dental x-ray. If you form a massive or difficult stone, they can gently treat them by removing them gently using a cotton swab or pick.

Particularly stubborn stones might need surgical removal from a doctor. Patients with recurring tonsil stones or frequent infections might want to consider a tonsillectomy.

Tonsil Stone Prevention Tips

Reduce your risk of forming tonsil stones by keeping your mouth as clean as possible with good oral hygiene. This can get rid of harmful residues that might otherwise make their way toward the tonsils where stones can form. Your oral hygiene regimen should include brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing every day.

Drinking plenty of water will flush out the tonsils, further reducing your risk of tonsil stones. So consider rinsing after meals. And if you have a history of these stones, try gargling after eating as well for improved preventative care.

Tobacco usage introduces toxins to the mouth and tonsils, so stop using these products to lower the chances of forming tonsil stones. Maximize oral cleanliness by attending all routine dentist appointments. The dentist cleans your teeth and mouth thoroughly during these visits. Call your dentist for more preventative dentistry advice.