Before understanding how to treat tonsil stones, one must understand what tonsils are. These three tonsils are located at the back of your tongue, back of your throat and sides of your throat. Tonsils that are composed of soft tissues. These pink masses help protect the body from infection. The size of tonsils can vary from person to person as well as the swelling during infection. Similar to the removal of the appendix, the removal of tonsils rarely has any harmful side effects. Sometimes, hard white and/or yellow stones begin to appear on the tonsils. These stones are known as tonsil stones or tonsilloliths. These types of stones can be undetected until they begin to grow in size and offers a disgusting odor.
Detecting tonsil stones can be difficult because they rarely show signs or symptoms. However, if you happen to notice any of the following, you should check with a doctor to ensure you don’t have (or do) tonsil stones.
- Bad breath
- Difficulty swallowing
- Trouble breathing properly
- Difficulty to eat certain foods
- Sore throat
- Swelling of the tonsils
- Ear pain
- Persistent coughing
- White debris
Unfortunately, the tonsils area is where specks of debris comes to “build a home”. Bacteria feeds on the dead cells, trapped food and saliva that is lodged into the tonsil crypts and that is how tonsil stones develop. Other causes of tonsil stones are:
- Inflamed tonsils
- Large tonsils
- Poor hygiene, especially dental
- Repeated tonsillitis
Tonsil stones can form on any of the three sections of tonsils. Depending on where the tonsil stones are located, one may not be able to see what these stones look like. These stones are made of calcium carbonate, which is why the stones appear white. Most doctors and dentists should be able to detect tonsil stones with the naked eye. To ensure that there are no other underlying issues or diseases, doctors may request an x-ray or CT (computed tomography) scan. Once a diagnosis has been made, the proper way of how to treat tonsil stones can be discussed.
How to Treat Tonsil Stones
There are some home remedies that explain how to treat tonsils stones. Some of these treatment methods include:
- Chewing carrots: The natural antibacterial process begins to activate when one chews carrots. This antibacterial process helps increase the saliva which can eliminate the stones or reduce their size.
- Applying oil: Do not use olive oil to apply to the affected area. Only use essential oils such as lemongrass and thieves oil. Apply a small amount of oil onto a toothbrush and then brush the stones with the oil. After this is completed, discard the toothbrush.
- Removing with cotton swab or finger: Although frowned upon by doctors, one can try removing the stones with their finger. However, the removal of a stone should only be considered if it is easy to reach and small.
- Salt-water gargle: This is one of the most common treatments of tonsil stone removal. Gargling salty warm water helps break down the stones and relieve some pain.
- Gargling vinegar: While it may sound unpleasant, the acidity in vinegar will help break down the stones.
If the “holistic” approach to tonsil stones removal is not your cup of tea, then ask the doctor about how to treat tonsil stones (medically).
- Tonsillectomy: If you constantly suffer from tonsil stones and tonsillitis, then removal of the tonsils should be the best option.
- Coblation cryptolysis: Without the use of heat, lasers can cut through the tissue and reduce the size of the tonsil crypts. This will prevent further tonsil stones from occurring.
- Antibiotics: Only a medical professional can prescribe antibiotics, but this method of treatment will only temporarily remove the stones.
There are certain steps that one can take to help prevent tonsil stones from occurring. Unfortunately, if you have large tonsils, then you may be susceptible to these stones forming. Ways to prevent these stones include:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day
- Changing your toothbrush every couple of months
- Do not smoke or stop smoking
- Avoid sugary foods
- Always clean your tongue and back of your mouth
- Drink lots of water
- Get your tonsils removed but only if recommended by a doctor