Most people are quite familiar with the term tonsil stones, particularly since almost everyone has dealt with tonsil stones at some point in their life. In fact, they are seasonal infections that repeat themselves from time to time and can be caused by various conditions including cold, sore throat or as a phenomenon that follows healing cough.
Tonsil stones may be quite difficult to see as they appear deep in the throat, sometimes even behind the folds of your tonsils. While harmless on their own, tonsil stones can be a safe haven for bacteria and also cause bad breath.
Fortunately, there are several natural remedies you can use to clear away all the tonsil stones. If you have been wondering why you have bad breath, or why your immunity is gradually folding up, it could be something simple like tonsil stones.
Here is a detailed review of this kind of infection including what they are, what forms them, their impacts on oral hygiene and health, as well as natural remedies to help you eliminate them.
What Are Tonsil Stones?
Before exploring the natural remedies for tonsils, it is important to fully define and describe the infection. Most people who have these stones generally have no idea and many have never even heard of the term.
The tonsils are a pair of two soft muscles located in the back of your throat. They form part of the lymphatic system that fights off infection and contain lymphocytes which contain white cells to kill bacteria and other infections that pass through your throat. They are thus the first line of defense as they fight off infection and trap bacteria as food passes through the throat.
Tonsil stones have been referred to by names such as tonsilloliths, tonsillar crypts and tonsil calculi. They manifest in white-yellowish hardened particles/debris at the back of your throat on or behind the tonsils.
How Are Tonsil Stones Formed?
If you examine your interior throat with a mirror, you will realize the muscles and region are groovy and rough-textured. This anatomy supports food swallowing and also ensures the throat is tough enough to handle the heat and abrasion caused by passing food.
Mucus, bacteria, dead cells, food particles and other debris may get stuck in the grooves of your tonsils and build up. When this happens, the body quickly sends white blood cells and lymphocytes to fight off the foreign presence.
The white cells kill all pathogens and infections leaving calcified debris behind. These are the tonsil stones that remain and are mainly white or yellowish in color.
Tonsil stones are generally harmless as they are a mixture of all the leftover white blood cells and lymphocytes that went into action on your behalf. Unfortunately, the calcified remains are a great attraction for gut bacteria, particularly the bad ones, which feed and accumulate in large numbers that compromise your first line of immunity.
Symptoms And Signs Of Tonsil Stones
One major reason why very few actually know of tonsil stones existence is their elusive exposition. Tonsil stones appear inside the throat, an area not many inspect every other day and can build up there without you noticing.
Secondly, the tonsil folds can also conceal these calcified stones and you won’t even see a sign of their presence. However, the symptoms and signs of tonsil stones are evident.
These remains are rich in sulfur content and also harbor a large number of bacteria. This is the perfect combination for the foul odor caused by tonsil stones. If you have these remains, it will only be a short while before you start experiencing bad breath.
It only gets worse and can be downright disgusting if you do not treat them. You may also feel irritations or itchy sensations inside your throat and the drive to attempt subtle coughs. Some tonsil stones are visible and you can see them using a mirror.
Most are small and will not be any larger than a pencil’s eraser but they can be spread around an inch wide radius. The main symptoms include the following:
- White and/or yellowish flakes appearing at the back of your throat
- Bad breath noted in 75% of tonsil stone patients
- Pain, discomfort and sore throat
- Swallowing problems when the stones grow too big
- Inflammation and swelling of the tonsils
- Ear pain since tonsils and ears share the same nerve channels
What Causes Tonsil Stones?
Getting rid of tonsil stones does not necessarily require you to know what caused them in the first place. Nonetheless, you may want to avoid their reappearance considering all the side effects and symptoms that accompany such formations.
Tonsil stones, like all other infections have causes and risk factors. There are three main causes of tonsil stones that have been identified. These include the following:
Poor Dental And Oral Hygiene
If you do not brush and floss your teeth as frequently as recommended, you have a higher risk of developing masses of tonsil stones. If you swallow hard crunchy food without proper chewing, tonsil inflammation may lead to secretion and buildup of debris around the area.
Chronic Sinus Problems
Those who have a history of tonsil inflammation and chronic sinus issues are more likely to develop these stones.
From separate studies, those with larger tonsils have a higher chance of getting tonsil stones since they have a wider area to be inflamed and more groovy space for debris. If your tonsils have not been removed, there is a chance you may end up with tonsil stones, but this is not a sure eventuality.
Tonsil stones can happen to anyone including healthy people without any medical condition or ailment. Certain medications that heighten immunity and defense against foreign particles may also increase the formation of tonsil stones.
7 Natural Treatment Options For Tonsil Stones
Some tonsil stones have faded with time especially those that followed tonsil infection. However, most will remain stuck on your tonsils unless you use a remedy to clear them. What’s more, the undesirable symptoms are just too much to withstand. It is therefore recommended that you treat and eliminate such formations as soon as you notice them.
You have the option of conventional treatment as well as natural remedies.
The conventional treatment recommended will generally depend on the number, size and symptoms suffered. There is usually no need for medical treatment unless you experience some unwanted symptoms.
Most doctors will simply recommend antibiotics to kill the bacteria and eliminate the foul odor. The problem is that antibiotics never get to the root cause and also have various side effects. If the tonsils are so large that they cause other symptoms, surgical removal may be called for.
Other conventional methods include:
1. Laser Cryptolysis
This involves reshaping your tonsils to reduce the crypts where tonsil stones grow.
2. Coblation Cryptolysis
This involves passing radio waves that transform the salts into charged ions that can cut through the tonsil tissue to reduce the crypts where tonsil stones form.
This is the complete surgical removal of tonsils. It is only recommended for the most severe cases where all other methods have been tried and failed.
No single conventional method can guarantee a stone-free future since tonsils and crevices can still grow back and even get larger than they previously were. However, these methods will remove all the debris.
If your case is not severe, then there is no reason to panic and seek conventional treatment options. Tonsil stones can be effectively removed using natural means that leave no undesired side effects.
However, you must still carefully pick your options and use high quality ingredients only. Below is a list of 7 proven natural tonsil stone remedies you can use to eliminate the symptoms and signs of all tonsil formations:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is often used as an effective replacement to most commercial antibiotics and antifungals. It treats a wide variety of conditions and now tonsil stones join the list. To make the formula that removes all the throat plaque, simply add one tablespoon AVC to 8 ounces warm water and stir to mix.
Gargle this mixture once or twice per day to break down all the clarified debris and clear it away.
The allicin content found in garlic has been shown to kill off even the hardest strains of bacteria. Chewing on raw garlic can help you kill off bacteria found within the tonsil stones and eliminate the bad breath.
This will not only discourage the growth of the stones, but also makes it easy to break them down through other means including regular swallowing. Garlic also possesses powerful antimicrobial properties and has been proven to be an effective natural antibacterial.
3. Cotton Swab
Tonsil swab is never quite recommended but it is still very effective if you are careful. Simply wet the cotton swab and gently press on the tissue surrounding the stones (behind the stones).
This will loosen them and the stones will finally pop out. You should not be too aggressive especially since the stone may pop into the throat and you end up swallowing rather than spitting it out. You may also end up irritating your delicate tonsil tissues. Once it is out of the way, gargle with warm water and salt to remove remains.
4. Cough Energetically
Sometimes it takes coughing out a tonsil stone. When this happens, there is no cause for worry. Simply wait and when the time comes to cough, use a little bit more energy and spit out any debris. Gargle with warm water and some salt to remove any remains.
Coughing is an ideal way to contract and relax the tissues around the throat to loosen the stack of tonsil stones. Nevertheless, do not force out a cough.
5. Establish Good Oral Hygiene
Tonsil stone formation happens because of food debris and residues that remain on the groovy areas and crevices. Regularly brushing and flossing after every meal and ensuring nothing remains in your mouth will generally reduce the chances of tonsil stone formation.
Moreover, a good oral hygiene reduces the number of harmful bacteria that look to feed on such formations.
6. Oil Pulling
This method has been used in ayurvedic treatment for a long time to heal cavities and gum disease. It can also be used to remove tonsil stones that are asymptomatic. It is also part of maintaining a perfect oral hygiene.
Oil pulling basically involves swirling a spoon of oil (coconut or olive oil) before spitting it out. You can swirl once per day for 10 – 20 minutes. Daily swishing with olive or coconut oil can help you prevent the formation of any tonsil stones.
7. Salt Water Gargling
Gargling with salt water is one of the simplest ways to naturally remove tonsil stones especially those that cause pain and itchy sensations. Combine half a tablespoon of common salt with 8 ounces of warm water and gargle a few times a day to free your throat of any debris and food remains.
You can gargle vigorously to loosen stuck tonsil stones. There are several other natural ways to go about removing stones from your tonsils and remedying all the symptoms.
Probiotics and hydration both have positive impacts on your tonsil stone removal efforts and will also promote better oral hygiene. Simply make sure the method you choose is safe and does not expose you to any inflammation or side effects.
Tonsil Stones Natural Treatments Conclusion
Tonsil stones are often very small and smell gross; they should not cause you any worry and should not develop into complications. However, some rare cases can result in red inflamed tonsils that are swollen and painful. If this is the case, then prompt medical attention from a professional is required.
If you experience any pain following the use of home remedies, or feel the presence but can’t seem to see any tonsil stones, it is advisable to visit a doctor. This goes for anyone who cannot adequately remove all the stones and experiences some unwanted symptoms.
If you must attempt physical dislodge, make sure you are very careful. Most tonsil stones will generally pop off using the abovementioned natural means.