A common consequence of tonsillitis is the development of tonsil stones (tonsilloliths). Tonsillitis is known as an inflammation of the tonsils due to infection. Tonsillitis is a contagious disease that is spread in the same manner as a cold or flu, by coming into contact with a contaminated surface area or an infected person’s germs via a sneeze or a cough.
What are tonsil stones?
Tonsil stones or tonsilloliths develop in an environment that includes bacterial infection, food particles, debris, mucus, and other inhaled or ingested contaminants. These particles get trapped in the folds and crevices of the tonsils called tonsil crypts, and they calcify, forming small whitish stones. The bacterial action on the food particles produces sulfur by-products which are responsible for the bad breath (halitosis) that often accompanies tonsil stones.
When tonsils are fighting foreign elements that our bodies are subjected to, the dead cells are trapped in the lymphatic fluid. When this becomes too much, these dead cells can harden and deposit in the tonsils. Usually, these stones are small in size and one might not detect it. It is a rare case to find large stones that need surgical removal. This affects over a million children and adults each year. The vast majority of cases occur in children between the ages of 5 and 15.
Symptoms of tonsil stones
In many cases, there are no visible symptoms. These stones might not interfere in the person’s daily life and they might get unnoticed for very long periods of time. However, in some cases, there are certain symptoms that accompany this medical situation.
Bad breath: The abundance of some substances, mainly sulfur compounds, has been associated with bad breath. Medical research has shown that those who suffer from this medical condition have high levels of these substances, thus the association between tonsil stones and bad breath is established.
Sore throat: Throat infection is usually associated with pain in the throat. For people who suffer from this medical condition, it is hard to tell if the pain is coming from the infection itself or from the tonsil stones. Although this is not clear to many practitioners this association is valid. Note that a sore throat may be accompanied with a fever of 101ºC or higher.
White formation: Sometimes the stones are visible in the back of the throat. However, this is not always the case; in many instances, we can find the stones hiding in the folds of the tonsils or tonsil crypts, and they can only be detected by further investigations such as CT scans or MRI.
Difficulty in swallowing: This happens when the stones are enlarged, it also depends on the location of these stones.
Ear pain: Since the pathways are common, stones that are formed in the throat area might cause ear pain. This occurs even if the stones are not touching the ear.
Tonsil swelling: The inflammation that occurs ln the tonsils, combined with the hard formation of the stones cause swelling in the tonsils. This again depends on the situation and the size of the stones.
Unexplained bouts of coughing: Coughing fits is another symptom to look out for. At times, you may even cough up some of the stones. Persistent coughing is primarily due to the irritation caused by the stones.
The vast majority of tonsillitis symptoms merely cause discomfort and the condition itself is rarely serious. Complications of bacterial tonsillitis (tonsillitis caused by bacteria) can, in some cases, give rise to more serious threats such as peritonsillar abscess, glomerulonephritis, or rheumatic fever, etc.
Treatment of Tonsillitis
What is the best way to get rid of tonsil stones?
Treatment of tonsillitis depends largely on such factors as the age of the individual with the disease, the severity of the condition, and the cause, whether bacterial or viral. There is no one standard treatment for tonsillitis. Many of the measures taken during treatment will be aimed at alleviating the symptoms of discomfort; a sore throat, headache, fever, ear pain, etc.
Whether the infection is caused by bacteria or a virus, the body’s immune system will usually rid itself of the infection within four to seven days. If the infection is bacterial in nature a 10-day course of an antibiotic such as penicillin, erythromycin, or roxithromycin may be prescribed to get rid of the infection. Because antibiotics can cause unpleasant side effects such as stomach ache, rash, or diarrhea; and because their use poses some risk of developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria, they will not always be prescribed in children. Because of this potential risk, antibiotics should always be taken exactly as prescribed for the full course of treatment, regardless of how you or your child may feel.
Other than antibiotic treatment, palliative measures would likely be the same for both a bacterial or viral infection, and may include the following:
- Ensure that children have plenty of soothing liquids and soft foods to prevent dehydration and aid ease swallowing
- Using over-the-counter painkillers such as Ibuprofen or Paracetamol (especially for children), lozenges, and oral sprays to combat a sore throat
- Gargling with salt water (½ tsp salt to 8 oz water) or a mild antiseptic solution
- The use of humidifiers or vaporizers
Age-related precautions to observe involve giving certain over-the-counter medications to children under the age of 15. In general, they should not be given aspirin during this time due to the possibility of contracting Reyes Syndrome, which can be fatal.
Also be careful when giving children over-the-counter cold or pain-killing remedies as dosages need to be age and sometimes weight increase. Check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving these medications.
Tonsil Stone Removal
Removing tonsil stones can be done at home or through various medical procedures.
How to Get Rid of Tonsil Stones at Home
As tonsil stones are a product of an infection, good oral hygiene is the first place to start in treatment or prevention. Many home remedies exist to deal with tonsil stones. These treatments center on either counteracting the symptoms of tonsil stones or removing the stones themselves.
A good deal of removal involves combating the bad breath that surrounds having tonsil stones. There are numerous products on the market that offer help in this area, including oral sprays, lozenges, special oxygenated toothpaste, grape seed extract, oral antiseptics, tonsil stone “kits,” post nasal drip prevention products, and even gargling with plain salt water.
The aim is to eliminate as much of the infectious agents as possible and promote a clean, healthy oral cavity. The following remedies will also be helpful:
Cotton swab: In mild cases, some people prefer to remove these stones by themselves by using toothpicks or cotton swabs. The cotton swab is used to push out the stone gently from the tonsil crypts.
Salt water gargle: Gargling with salt water helps to lessen the discomfort associated with tonsil stone. This solution can also help flush out or remove tonsil stones that are already dislodged from prior removal attempts.
Antibiotics: Antibiotics can be offered as one kind of treatment; however it does not solve the route of the problem. Moreover, antibiotics can have negative side effects. It may be one of the remedies for tonsil stones, but it should not always be used as the first approach to removing tonsil stones.
Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy elements are sea salts. These are specially blended with a unique combination of ingredients that can help in a myriad of ways. These sea salts that are rich in minerals and nutrients, Epsom salt soothes sore muscles, sodium bicarbonate relieves itching and honey powder as a moisturizer and bacteria inhibitors. Mixed all together, start gargling for as much as you can. This will help you relax your throat and help dislodge the stones.
WaterpikWaterpik can also be used to rinse food or any debris jammed in your tonsils and teeth. If your trusty cotton swab can’t handle the job, a Waterpik is your best bet. It is regarded as one of the best remedies for tonsil stones that are hidden deep in your tonsils. One must be careful in using it though as the high-pressure setting of the tool can easily damage your tonsil tissue.
Alkakol: You can also gargle with a liquid mouthwash Alkalol; which is a combination of salt and various natural scented extracts that will help clean out your tonsil stones.
Sprays and nasal drops have also made it easier to get rid of tonsil stones. These sprays help to avoid the painful sensation caused by the presence of tonsil stones. Nasal drops, on the other hand, are known to be a good option to treat tonsils as it is made up of post nasal drips. Such drops are also very effective in preventing the formation of future tonsil stones.
Oxgenating mouthwash/toothpaste: Make it your routine to use oxygenating mouthwash and toothpaste. They help kill the bacteria in the back of your tongue. You can get it from any medical store.
Make sure to read the instructions carefully as you might not need water or cleaning of the tongue before brushing. Try to brush your teeth after every meal.
Changes in your diet: Avoid using caffeine, sugar and sticky oily stuff as they can worsen your tonsils. Reduce the amount of dairy intake and start drinking as much water as you can. Water can help clean out tonsil stones present at the back of your throat.
Tonsil stones are calcium deposits in your tonsilar cavity, so limit your intake of dairy foods. There are lots of dietary tips that I found that you can use to remove your stones and by eating specific foods you will be able to reduce the size of the stones and get rid of them altogether. You need to learn what type of foods help prevent tonsil stones and what are those that provoke it.
Eating and bedtime habits: Do not eat immediately before going to bed as food particles left in your mouth may get deposited in your tonsilar cavity.
Garlic: Chewing on garlic cloves at night, before you go to sleep also helps in eliminating the stones and prevents them from coming back. This is because garlic is a natural antibiotic and has natural healing properties.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Mix ¼ cup of warm water and a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar. Gargle this solution a few times a day until you see results. If you’re looking for a tonsil stones cure that’s effective and accessible, this is one of them. In fact, it is one of the best home remedies that can successfully remove tonsil stones.
How to permanently get rid of tonsil stones?
“How to get rid of tonsil stones permanently?” That’s the million dollar question. But, has anyone ever wondered whether that’s possible?
When tonsil stones are big and cannot be removed by any of the other treatment options, then the person should resort to a surgical operation. The operation is quiet, and it can be done under local anesthesia.
This procedure is called tonsillectomy, and it is the only way to remove tonsil stones permanently. Tonsillectomy is generally safe. However, just like any other medical procedure, there are risks to consider like bleeding, infection, and breathing difficulty due to swelling.
Tonsil Stone Removal Tool
The removal of stones is varied, easy, and doable. As previously mentioned, the tool required for such removal found at home such as cotton swabs, water jets, or ear curette, can extract the stones efficiently. This operation entails finesse and patience as the tonsils are extremely sensitive and are easily punctured. Prying the stones out of the tonsils require gentle probing and scraping motion.
With a water jet or dental irrigator, the device can also remove the tonsil stones with ease. These simple yet effective removal methods can provide relief for sufferers, without cost. Always gargle with mouthwash or salted water after the treatment.
There are also other options for Tonsijolliths removal such as laser contouring and surgery. These options may be considerable, however, they are expensive, and removing the tonsils all together can become a personal dilemma. Surgery and laser treatments like laser cryptolysis should only be an ultimate option.
In the meantime, here’s a list of other tools that can be used for removing tonsil stones.
Stainless Steel Tonsil Stone Removal Tool
From the name itself, this tool is especially designed for removing tonsil stones. This is a sterile medical grade stainless steel, guaranteed to be of highest quality, and has a skid resistant design which is 12cm long. It is a comfortable, round scoop which can be easily disinfected after each use.
Tonsil Stone Removal Tool with LED Light
This is an authentic tonsil stone removal device. It has 3 removable translucent adapters included with 3x AG3 Cell Batteries. It is regarded as the best Tonsil stone removal device on the market with bright LED Light with Over 5000 hours of life.
Tonsil Stone Removal Kit
This is an LED flashlight Tonsil Tool with 3 Translucent Adaptors. It has stainless steel tonsil pick with 12ml curved tonsil irrigation syringe. The latter can be filled with water or mouthwash to rinse out the stones and any debris left in your tonsils.
Final Thoughts on Dealing with Tonsil Stones (Tonsilloliths)
Tonsil stones are one kind of disease that can cause discomfort to your daily life. Although people tend to consult a doctor or remove them surgically in many cases such intervention is not needed, and the problem can be solved personally.
The most aggressive approach is surgery, which involves surgically removing the tonsils. There are also benign and affordable methods, such as laser and at-home remedies. When the stones are small, the only ways to detect them is by CT Scan or X-Ray. Consequently, the stones are so little, that they are impossible by ocular inspection until the stones grow and cause irritable and embarrassing symptoms. However, removal by mechanical means does not resolve the problem, as there are also prevention methods.
Your tonsil stones may be the warning sign of another serious health condition, so you need to act now. By doing the following, you will learn to fix this condition and get rid of your tonsil stones at the same time. You need to focus on the cause of tonsil stones – not the symptoms.
If you can dislodge your tonsil stones then maybe you should learn to prevent them from coming back by working on the prevention of your tonsil stones rather than the treatment.