Check-Up: Tonsil stones making her life hell
‘Frustrated’ emails Check Up saying that she recently discovered that she has tonsil stones after a brief illness.
They have made her life a living hell because they smell bad and she’s very self-conscious whenever she’s around people.
She even broke up with her boyfriend because of the embarrassment and doesn’t go out much anymore. How can she get rid of them?
Tonsil stones are hard balls formed on the surface of the tonsils in the crevices (crypts) found on the tonsils located at the back of the throat.
They are composed of bacterial, fungal and cellular debris, mucous and food particles which become stuck in the crypts, along with calcium salts from saliva which help give them firmness and a white colour.
Normally, these materials would be washed down the throat as you drink fluids and swallow food along with saliva every day.
But the more irregular the tonsillar surface is, the more likely for the different bits of material to become stuck there.
Sometimes tonsil stones can be difficult to remove, but usually this is not the case. However, like stones which form anywhere else in your body, they can be expelled and form again if you don’t eliminate the environment in the mouth which encouraged their development.
They don’t usually require medical (or surgical) treatment, but if you experience pain and discomfort with them you should see a doctor.
They are usually small in size, varying from the size of a rice grain to a pea. Rarely do they become quite large.
Tonsil stones can cause:
n Halitosis (bad breath)
n Sore throat
n Difficulty swallowing
n Ear pain
n Swollen tonsils
Consult with an ear nose and throat (ENT) specialist and get their opinion on how best to manage the problem.
However, there are several natural remedies which can be used to adequately treat this problem.
Possible underlying causes of tonsil stones are:
n Poor dental hygiene
n Chronic sinus issues with chronic post-nasal drip
n Large tonsils
n Chronic tonsillitis
n Prescription medications which dry the mouth
Steps you can take to prevent tonsil stone formation are:
n PractiSe good oral hygiene by cleaning your teeth properly and regularly.
n Brush your tongue, also.
n Dental floss every day.
n Stop smoking.
n Take vitamin C supplements.
n Vigorously cough if you feel a tonsil stone to try and loosen it.
n Gargle several times a day with salt water.
n Drink plenty water to remain well hydrated.
n Get rid of the post-nasal drip, which supplies the glue for the stones, by using prescribed steroidal nasal sprays and anti-histamines long term.
Avoid the following foods which seem to worsen tonsil stone formation:
n Dairy-based products which facilitate mucous production
n Sugary foods – chocolate, sweets, sodas, baked desserts
Treatment for tonsil stones will include:
n Prescription antibiotics
n ENT laser treatment
n Getting a tonsillectomy
Natural methods to eliminate tonsil stones:
n Using liquid grapefruit seed extract – Add five to 10 drops to a glass of water and drink this once or twice a day or gargle with it, then spit it out if it’s too acidic for you.
n Taking daily probiotics.
n Chewing raw garlic at bed time
n Fill a syringe with warm salt water or hydrogen peroxide – 50/50 dilution solution – and flush out the tonsil crypts and stones using the solution with a little pressure on the syringe.
n Gargling with vinegar or baking soda every day.
n Gargling several times daily with antibacterial mouthwash.
n Eliminating post-nasal drips through nasal irrigation, using nasal squirt bottles containing normal saline solution.
n Using an electric toothbrush to brush the tonsils can also help to gently remove tonsil stones.
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