How does a person know if they have tonsil stones? If you still have your tonsils, you can check in a mirror and look inside your mouth. You will notice some small white spots on the tonsils. They are not really stones, but lumps of calcified material. Let’s learn more.
Tonsil Stones Are a Common Occurrence
Tonsil stones, or tonsilloliths, are common and pose no real concern unless they begin to grow.
Other facts about tonsil stones include the following:
- Patients can develop chronic inflammation of the tonsils.
- They begin soft but can harden over time.
- Sometimes they can go away on their own.
- You can remove them yourself with a finger or a cotton swab.
- Gargling with warm salty water can dislodge them.
- There is a risk of recurrent tonsillitis.
What Causes Tonsil Stones
Tonsil stones are normally caused by oral bacteria. Bacteria, saliva, and food particles can get caught in and around the tonsils just like on your teeth.
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily can help prevent tonsil stones from forming.
Symptoms of Tonsil Stones
Small insignificant tonsil stones may not cause any symptoms at all. Larger ones can cause many symptoms.
Chronic Bad Breath
Most people with tonsil stones have the problem of infection which leads to bad breath.
White or Yellow Bumps
You can visibly notice stones on your tonsils by looking in the mirror.
Discomfort in Your Throat
You may find it difficult to swallow sometimes, or it feels like something is caught in your throat. If the stone is larger, it can affect your ability to swallow food and liquid comfortably.
Stones may irritate your throat causing you to cough.
You may have pain in the back of your throat due to larger stones, inflammation, swollen tonsils, or tonsillitis.
Because your tonsils share nerve pathways with your ear, this can cause pain in your ear.
Treatment for Tonsil Stones
Unless they are growing larger and cause some of the above symptoms, treatment may not be needed.
If you begin to have unpleasant consequences, see an ENT specialist like Coastal Ear, Nose & Throat in Savannah and Pooler, GA. Treatments may include antibiotics, a procedure to remove the stones, a tonsillectomy (removal of the tonsils), or cryptolysis to smooth the surface of the tonsils.