Do you experience bad breath regularly? Do you feel extreme pain and discomfort when swallowing? Do you experience sore throat or sometimes have a metallic taste in your mouth for no apparent reason? If your answer to these questions is yes then you may be suffering from tonsil stones. This is why there are people looking for ways on how to prevent tonsil stones.
Tonsils are in the back of your throat as gland-like structures. There is one located in a pocket on every side and they are made of tissues that consist of cells known as lymphocytes in your body and they help to prevent and combat infections. It is believed that tonsils perform a major role in the immune system and are expected to functions as nets that help to trap incoming virus and bacteria particles that pass through your throat.
A lot of medical professionals are in agreement that tonsils most times do not perform their duties very well. There are several situations they become more of an obstacle than providing help or solution. This may be because tonsils developed in the past within an environment where people did not have to deal with various germs as we have in our present period due to how we live and our large population. It has been suggested that people who have their tonsils removed are mostly likely not to suffer from viral and bacterial infections than people who have their tonsils in place.
WHAT ARE TONSILS
Tonsil stones can be described as hard white or yellow formations that are situated within or on the tonsils. They are also pieces of calcified material that get formed in the fleshy part at the back of the throat. They largely affect the palatine tonsils but it can also happen in the lingual tonsils. The weight of tonsils can range between 0.3g and 42g and are mostly made up of calcium. Other minerals like magnesium, ammonia, carbonate and phosphorous could also be available but in small deposits.
WHAT CAUSES TONSIL STONES
Your tonsils consist of corners and holes where bacteria along with other materials such as mucous and dead cells can be trapped. When this occurs, the fragments could become concentrated in white formations that occur in the pockets.
Tonsil stones otherwise known as tonsilloliths are made when the fragments trapped become hardened or calcifies. This usually occurs most times in people who have chronic inflammation in their tonsils or continuous episodes of tonsillitis. There are many people that develop small tonsillitis in their tonsils as having a large and solid tonsil stone is quite rare.
SYMPTOMS OF TONSIL STONES
Several small tonsil stones do not cause any obvious symptoms. Even in instances where they are huge, some tonsil stones are only revealed by accident on CT scans and X-rays. On the other hand, there are some tonsillitis that are larger and may have numerous symptoms. They include the following:
When tonsil stone and tonsillitis happen at the same time, it becomes harder to determine if the pain you are feeling in your throat is because of the tonsil stone or an infection. Having tonsil stone alone though may cause you to feel some pain or some discomfort in the area where it is located.
One of the major signs of tonsil stone is having extremely bad breath or halitosis that comes along with a tonsil infection. Some people have a high concentration of foul smelling compounds like sulfur which lead to bad breath.
Some tonsil stones can be seen in the back of the throat as a piece of solid white material although this is not always possible as most times they are hidden in the folds of the tonsils. In such situations they are only detected by using non-invasive scanning techniques like magnetic resonance imaging or CT scans.
PAIN IN THE EAR
Tonsil stones can appear anywhere in the tonsil and because of the sharing of nerve pathways a person could feel some pain in the ear even if the stone does not touch the ear.
FINDING IT HARD TO SWALLOW
Depending on where the tonsil stone is located as well as its size it may be painful or very hard to swallow liquids or foods.
When fragments that have been collected become hard and a tonsil stone is formed, inflammation that occurs due to infection and the tonsil stone itself could make a tonsil become huge or swell.
HOW TO PREVENT TONSIL STONES
Tonsil stones normally occur on a regular basis. Fortunately there are steps you can follow that will help to prevent it from happening. They include the following:
- Observe good oral hygiene such as brushing your teeth very well and remove the bacteria from the back of your tongue.
- Avoid smoking
- Gargle some salt water as this can help to prevent the formation of tonsil stone and eradicate the odor they cause
- Ensure you drink the required amount of water you need every day so you will stay hydrated
- If you have tonsils that cause you frequent pain and discomfort then you should visit your doctor and ask about various options for treatment.
Though the steps stated above are ways that can help people prevent having tonsil stones, there are still some people who believe the only certain way to prevent tonsil stone is through surgical procedure especially for people who have protracted tonsillitis. This surgical procedure is known as tonsillectomy and it is a process of removing the tissues of the tonsils completely which eliminates any chance of the formation of tonsil stones.
Tonsillectomy is usually performed under general anesthesia unlike tonsil stone extraction. People who take up the option of surgery usually find it hard to swallow and have a sore throat for some days after having the surgical procedure. This procedure could be an option for people seeking ways on how to prevent tonsil stones from coming back.
HOW TO TREAT TONSIL STONES
If people could lose their tonsil stones by not resorting to any medical treatment or procedure it would have been the best option but unfortunately it is not that simple and easy. Tonsil stones treatment is based on the amount of pain and discomfort a person feels as well as the size of the stones. Immediately you notice the growth of your tonsil stones you can get rid of them by using several home remedies. Tonsil stones that are larger require medical treatments. Below are ways that can help you receive some relief after getting rid of tonsil stones.
GARGLE WITH SALT WATER
Using salt water or mouth wash that is non-alcoholic to gargle can help stop tonsil stones from accumulating and get rid of the bad smell the stones cause. When you gargle with salt water it can help you take care of a sore throat as well as remove tiny fragments like food particles, mucus and substances that the tonsils have absorbed.
DRINKING WATER REGULARLY
This is an effective and simple way to get rid of tonsil stones. Water allows the body to be hydrated and produces an environment that is not suitable for bacteria to thrive and survive. Also drinking water frequently helps clean up fragments along the cavity and prevents substances from building up at the tonsils which can lead to the formation of tonsil stones.
MAKING USE OF COTTON SWABS
Cotton swabs help to take off the tonsil stones from the wall of the tonsil. You need to wet both ends of the cotton swab to make it gentle on the tonsils. This should be done with a flash light in front of the mirror so you can find the stones and use the wet swabs to loosen them and gently remove them from the tonsil walls. When you have finished you should gargle your mouth using salt water to remove any particles and fragments remaining.
MAKING USE OF A TOOTHBRUSH
You can make use of an ordinary or electric toothbrush. When using a soft brittle ordinary toothbrush ensure you have a flash light to find the position of the tonsil stones. Make use of the toothbrush bristles to put pressure on the tonsil till they become loose. Take them off and use a mouthwash to eliminate the small stones left.
When using an electric toothbrush, switch it on and put pressure on the areas where you find the stones. Using the back of the vibrating brush, gently scrub the stones so that they can be broken up. When you are done, use a mouthwash to clean your mouth and get rid any particles left.
EAT RAW ONIONS AND RAW GARLIC CLOVES
Garlic has anti-bacteria properties that help eradicate any form of bacteria. Just chew raw garlic cloves many times daily and it will get rid of the bacteria causing the formation of tonsil stones. Raw onions also have anti-bacterial properties and it helps in maintaining proper oral health and prevents oral infections. To get the desired result of removing the tonsil stones and eradicating bacteria causing tonsil stones formation, eat at least three onions a day. Onions also help to eliminate foul smell from tonsil stones.
USING LIME JUICE
Lime has been known over time for its medicinal properties and it can be used to remove tonsil stones. Mix juice with some water and drink it and if you wish you can flavors for a special taste. Slowly drink the lime so that it can get in touch with where the tonsils are situated. This helps to clean the tonsils and remove any bacteria that are there and prevent it from happening in the future.
USING LEMON JUICE
Lemon juice is a rich source in Vitamin C and is very good in removing tonsil stones. What you should do is mix warm water with at least three tablespoons of lemon. You can add some flavor if you desire, once it is ready, drink and gargle around the tonsils and get rid of the stones and clean the affected area.
EATING UNSWEETENED YOGURT
Eating natural yogurt is good way to get rid of tonsil stones. It consists of a property known as probiotic which is bacteria that is beneficial to getting rid of harmful bacteria. This is possible by removing the bacteria formed at the tonsil. The bacteria will also prevent tonsil stones from occurring in the future by cleaning out all harmful bacteria from the tonsils as well as other parts of the body.
MAITAINING A BALANCED DIET
Eating balanced diet rich in probiotics and vitamins will help the body eliminate tonsil stones. Eating vegetables like carrots, tomatoes and spinach is a good idea as it makes the mouth watery making it difficult for bacteria to survive. Try to reduce the amount of dairy products you consume as it can lead to increase of calcium and mucus as these two components allow tonsil stones to be formed.
TREATING TONSIL STONES MEDICALLY
This offers short term treatment for tonsil stones. The antibiotic usually used is amoxicillin which works by producing an environment that does not allow bacteria to survive as it prevents them from having a cell wall which is important for them to survive. However this treatment cannot last because though it will remove the bacteria from the tonsil it cannot prevent it from coming back later as the bacteria will become immune to the antibiotics as time goes on. Patients could have side effects like fever, vomiting and diarrhea.
As stated earlier another form of medical treatment is through a surgical procedure to remove tonsil stones know as tonsillectomy. This should be taken as the last option when symptoms become severe. Doctors could decide to perform a partial tonsillectomy or remove the tonsils completely.
Patients who opt for complete removal experience some pain and take longer to recover. Older people are not encouraged to use this option because they take long to recover while children can recover fully in about two weeks unlike adults who may take a month or two.
This involves using laser to remove the tonsil stones. It is a less painful method with a shorter period of recovery. This is also a short term treatment as the tonsil stones could come back later as it leaves behind the tonsil tissues. The laser treatment only takes away the tonsil crypt from where the stones are settled.