Tonsil Stones and Chronic Bad Breath

What are Tonsil Stones?

Tonsil stones
Tonsil stones otherwise known as Tonsilloliths are the calcification of different elements and compounds present in the mouth.

With time, they tend to accumulate in pocket like tissue formation called tonsil crypts located on both sides in the back of your mouth. Tonsilloliths are directly related to chronic bad breath.

The Tonsil functions like a kind of net that trap impurities and microscopic organisms we might ingest(bacteria, viruses). These impurities are then progressively moved to the stomach where they are destroyed by stomach acids. Although the function of tonsils is clear, their actual effectiveness has been subject to debate.

What causes Tonsillolith?

It is closely associated with post nasal drip , bacteria imbalance in the mouth, and white tongue. To understand the causes, one must first learn the composition of the tonsilloliths. They are a combination of the following substances:

- Mucus
- Dead blood cells
- Anaerobic bacteria
- Fungus
- Food residue

By being trapped and accumulating inside tonsil crypts , they start to form a foul smelling stone like substance. Leaving bacteria and post nasal drip unchecked is a major cause for tonsil stones.

How does Tonsillolith cause Chronic Halitosis?

Chronic bad breath and tonsilloliths are caused by the very same elements in the most part. The accumulation of these elements inside the tonsil crypts make it even that much difficult to get rid of.

In 2007, a medical study revealed that for 75% of people suffering from chronic bad breath, tonsilloliths were a major cause. That’s 3 out of every 4 people! When someone suffers from bad breath, the very first thing they must do to find the source is to check their tonsils.

What are the symptoms of Tonsilloliths?

- Chronic bad breath
- Bad taste in the back of the throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swollen tonsils
- White spots on throat
- White tonsils
- Sore throat
- Tonsil Infection

How to prevent tonsil stones

The best and most effective way to treat this condition is by using two main devices:

- The sinus irrigator: Contrary to over the counter nasal wash, the sinus irrigator will not effect nasal tissue through long term use. Since one of the major constituting compounds is mucus, regular flushing of the nasal passages is a must.

- The Oral Irrigator: Aside from being an excellent flossing device, the oral irrigator can be used to water down the tonsil crypts removing already formed stones or its elements before tonsilloliths begin to form. It also has the benefit of massaging the tonsils stimulating blood circulation.

- Tongue Scraper: Don’t just use a tongue scraper, use the right tongue scraper! Food residue will help constitute tonsillolith AND feed bacteria. The Orabrush tongue scraper is perfect for the job! It’s the only one in the market to possess scraping abilities with tiny plastic bristles that penetrate deep between taste buds to effectively remove trapped food residue that would otherwise be impossible to get rid of. The Orabrush is an essential tool to prevent tonsil stones.

How to get rid of tonsil stones

The real problem at first is the gag reflex. Although the gagging reflex diminishes significantly with time, it can lead to a great deal of discomfort.

One way of removing them is by first moistening a cotton swab and gently applying pressure on the tonsils. By proceeding with care and patience, this should push
the tonsilloliths out of the tonsil crypts.

The oral irrigator can again be used for tonsil stone removal. Set water flow at minimum and use the oral irrigator tip pointed toward the tonsil crypts. Water will penetrate inside the tonsil crypts, flushing out the stones. You may want to add an oxygenating agent (widely available in drug stores). The oral irrigator is truly a great device to use against tonsil stones, but also chronic bad breath.

If the problem persists and causes significant discomfort or pain, consider surgery as a last resort. There are two main surgical procedure on the tonsils:

Laser Cryptolisis is performed only under local anesthetic. This procedure is minor and will flatten the tonsil crypts effectively closing out the pocket like crevices where mucus, bacteria, and food debris usually accumulate to form tonsilloliths.

The other surgical procedure is the more radical 'Tonsillectomy', which consists of permanently removing the tonsils. It is known to be a very painful procedure and should be considered only as a last resort.

In either case, you should see an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) specialist for professional advice.

Preventing tonsilloliths and finding cures for bad breath go hand in hand. For more information on how to prevent bad breath and tonsil stones, click here.

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