There are quite a number of people who may have suffered tonsil infections as kids. Some may have also had them surgically removed which is a fairly common operation. But did you know that there are other types of tonsil problems which many don’t even know about and those are tonsil stones?
1What are tonsil stones?
Well!! You may have heard of gallstones, kidney stones but tonsil stones also exist. Tonsils are those little pieces of tissue at the back of your throat. Their job is to provide assistance to your immune system protecting you from germs entering your throat.
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2How do the tonsils work?
The tonsils trap bacteria entering the body through your mouth and moving to your throat. Healthy tonsils do much to protect you from some serious bad bacteria that may cause severe throat infections. Your tonsils are also responsible for your health.
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3How do tonsils get infected?
Although your tonsils can keep you healthy, they sometimes get infected with the very same bacteria when the load is too much. Tonsils actually consist of lymphocyte tissue which is the infection fighter of the body. The tonsil is made up of a spongy texture which according to doctors can also be a breeding ground for tonsil stones. The condition is called tonsilloliths where little hard growths start appearing on the tonsils.
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4How they appear
On the surface texture of the tonsils, there are several dips and crevices which tend to trap food and mucus. This then attracts bacteria that get entrenched in it. The continuous formation of such occurrence causes the formation of a hard ball called a tonsil stone. In effect, it is a consequence of your body’s protection from the bacteria. Thus in trying to protect your body from food mixed with bacteria, your tonsils form these little-calcified globs.
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5Who is at risk for tonsil stones?
Those who frequently get tonsil infections or tonsillitis are at higher risk of getting tonsil stones. Even those with enlarged tonsils without infections develop them easily. Some tonsil stones are too tiny to be noticed but they do cause symptoms which are all mentioned below. Moreover, if you face any of these symptoms, see a doctor.
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6White Patches on tonsils
Large tonsil stones can be seen with a naked eye. White spots on your tonsils warrant a doctor’s checkup to find out if they are tonsil stones or some other infection like strep throat or tonsillitis. This can be an even more serious infection which is easily treated with antibiotics.
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The first sign of throat infection and a tonsil problem is bad breath. Because the stones consist of bacteria mixed with old food particles, they will emit foul odors from your throat causing bad breath. There are ways to control the problem.
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8A sore throat
When there is a cluster of tonsil stones, it causes a sore throat accompanied by the usual burning and pain. You may find it swollen and face difficulty in swallowing. There will also be a lot of discomfort in the area of the stone cluster.
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The ear and throat are connected through the eustachian tube. As a result, both the ear and throat share nerve pathways which is why the pain can lead to the ear as well giving you an earache. Do not attempt to treat yourself for ear ache if you have throat problems simply because your problem isn’t because of your ear. Always see a doctor first to diagnose the source of the pain.
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10Treating tonsil stones
Usually, tonsil stones do not require treatment if the infection isn’t severe and causing other throat infections, inflammation and in some cases fever. If you aren’t being bothered by any symptoms, a doctor would suggest you do nothing. But what you could do is practice a healthier lifestyle and drink warm soothing drinks so they don’t affect you.
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11Do not attempt to remove them yourself
There are quite a number of people who have actually grown accustomed to skillfully removing these tonsil stones with cotton swabs and picks. Don’t try this yourself as it isn’t recommended. You could damage your tonsil tissue making it bleed and creating a worse problem.
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12Warm saline gargle
A warm salt water gargle is always good for any throat problem and the same goes for tonsil stones. You can relieve your symptoms with a saline gargle thrice a day.
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13Apple cider vinegar
ACV is a great remedy for tonsil stones. For natural tonsil stone removal, just add one teaspoon of ACV to eight ounces of warm water and gargle with this thrice daily. The ACV breaks down the stones and the gargling dislodges them. You have to use natural unfiltered apple cider vinegar for the purpose.
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Garlic is another great natural remedy for tonsil stones. Just chew on raw garlic which will kill bacteria within the tonsil stones. Research at Copenhagen University found that consuming just one clove of garlic daily can kill the odor creating bacteria of tonsil stones. Crush a clove of garlic, allow it to remain for 10 minutes before consuming as this increases its allicin content which is the main bacteria fighting ingredient in garlic.
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15Removal of tonsil stones
In cases where your condition or infection gets severe, a doctor may advise surgical removal of the tonsils totally. The risks and benefits of such a procedure should be carefully discussed with your doctor before going for surgery.
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