Tonsil stones guide

Tonsil stones

What is it?

Tonsil Stones or tonsilloliths are irregularly shaped, whitish-yellow, foul-smelling globs of mucous and bacteria that get caught in the back of the throat. The tonsils usually appear like small, dimpled golf balls set on either side of the back of the throat. Children with large tonsils and deep crypts often get food particles trapped in there. Because saliva contains digestive enzymes, trapped food begins to break down. Particularly, the starch or carbohydrate part of the food melts away, leaving firmer, harder remains of food in the tonsils. The tonsils also trap other mouth debris such as bacteria and old cells from the surface of the mouth's lining. Some of these cells contain small amounts of keratin, the same substance found in fingernails and rhinoceros horns. Whatever the nature of the debris, it is then attacked by white blood cells. The leaves the crevices of the tonsil strewn with hardened remains. Most people swallow this material without ever noticing it, while it is still tiny. In those whose tonsils are large, however, the particles can lodge in the deep crypts, where they continue to grow. The enlarging lumps are called calculi of the tonsil, or tonsilloliths (tonsil stones). These stones are most common during adolescence.

What is the treatment?

Tonsil Stones don't do any physical harm, and sporadically coughing them up doesn't mean that there is anything wrong. However, they can be annoying and sometimes they are an indication that you have bad breath. Normally, Normally one does not do much for them, except gargle with hydrogen peroxide. A simple combination of drugs and nasal drops can effectively eliminate tonsil stones without unnecessary tonsil surgery. Plus, occasional use of a nasal spray helps neutralise the anaerobic sulfur-producing bacteria on contact.

DoctorNDTV Team

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