What Are Tonsil Stones?
Tonsil stones are small lumps of hard material that form in the tonsils. Tonsil stones can cause bad breath though they’re usually not painful or harmful. They’re also called tonsilliths. You can usually treat tonsil stones at home. But in some cases, you may need surgery to remove the tonsils.
What are tonsils?
Tonsils are part of your immune system, which helps protect against infection. Tonsils filter bacteria and viruses that enter your body through your mouth. Removing the tonsils does not affect your immune system. Your tonsils are two round, fleshy masses in the back of your throat(pharynx). Part of your immune system, your tonsils are like lymph nodes. They help filter out germs that enter through your nose or mouth to protect the rest of your body from infection. Tonsils are also called palatine tonsils or faucial tonsils.
Tonsil Stone Causes
Your tonsils are filled with nooks and crannies where bacteria and other things, including dead cells and mucus, can get trapped. When this happens, the debris can bond together. Tonsil stones form when this debris hardens, or calcifies. This tends to happen most often in people who have long-term inflammation in their tonsils or repeated cases of tonsillitis. Many people have small tonsilloliths, but it’s rare to have a large tonsil stone.
Tonsil Stone Symptoms
Small tonsil stones may not cause any symptoms that you’d notice. Even when they’re large, some tonsil stones are found only after X-rays or CT scans. Symptoms include:
- Bad breath. A main sign of a tonsil stone is severely bad breath, or halitosis, that comes along with a tonsil infection. One study of patients with a form of long-term tonsillitis checked their breath for things called volatile sulfur compounds, which can mean bad breath. The researchers found that 75% of the people who had unusually high amounts of these compounds also had tonsil stones.
- Sore throat. When you get a tonsil stone and tonsillitis together, it can be hard to figure out which is causing pain in your throat. The tonsil stone itself might give you pain or discomfort.
- Cough. A stone might irritate your throat and make you cough.
- White debris. You might be able to see a tonsil stone in the back of your throat as a lump of solid white material.
- Trouble swallowing. Depending on the location or size of the tonsil stone, it may be hard or painful to swallow food or liquids.
- Ear pain. Tonsil stones can develop anywhere in your tonsil. Because of shared nerve pathways, you might feel pain in your ear, even though the stone itself isn’t touching your ear.
- Tonsil swelling. When debris hardens and a tonsil stone forms, inflammation, infection, and the tonsil stone itself may make your tonsil swell.
Tonsil Stone Diagnosis
Your doctor can usually diagnose tonsil stones with a physical exam. If they’re hidden in the folds of your tonsils, you might need imaging tests, such as CT or MRI scans, to spot them.
Tonsil Stone Complications
Large tonsil stones can cause swollen tonsils and give you trouble swallowing. Tonsil stones can also sometimes trigger infections.
How are tonsil stones treated?
In many cases, you can remove tonsil stones at home. Here are some things you can try:
- Gargle with warm saltwater.
- Cough vigorously to try and dislodge the stones.
- Use a water pick to flush tonsil stones out.
- Use a cotton swab to gently push the tonsil stones out
Can tonsil stones be prevented?
You can’t always prevent tonsil stones. But there are things you can do to reduce your risk:
- Brush and floss regularly. Make sure to brush your tongue, too.
- Quit smoking. Ask your healthcare provider for helpful resources.
- Gargle with salt water after eating.
- Stay hydrated.
Role of homeopathy in Tonsil Stone
Homeopathic medicines for tonsils stones are prescribed symptomatically for every individual case. These medicines are made of natural substances and cause no side effects. They help remove and dissolve the existing tonsil stones from the folds of the tonsils and also help reduce the body’s tendency to create tonsil stones.
Homeopathy possesses a significant role in building the immunity system in the body of patients suffering from tonsils and other ailments. The medicines filter and kill the infections that have entered the mouth. The medicines also help in producing antibodies to further fight germs and save the body from infection.
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