What’s this, you say? Like kidney stones? Well, sort of. Tonsil stones are mostly calcium formations that can build up in the folds of your tonsils. Most people won’t notice they have them—they aren’t dangerous or anything, just really gross. Some people will notice, though—they might get the sensation of having something lodged in their tonsil, trouble swallowing, choking, suddenly find one floating around their mouth, or accidentally spit one out while talking.
And they smell horrible—one study found that more 3 out of 4 people with chronic bad breath had tonsil stones.
So what causes these gnarly, almost tooth like rocks? (Sometimes they are described as having a “cheesy” texture).
Tonsils are a part of your immune system—they produce white blood cells to help fight pathogens in your food. Your tonsils actually have a large cavity—which can be really large in some people—and this cavity can sometimes form tonsil stones.
The following video is gross, but educational (YouTube has many, many tonsil stone videos if you’re curious—you can even see tonsillectomies—but be warned they are very, very graphic).
As you can see, you can remove tonsil stones at home using a Qtip. Others have better luck coughing them up.
But that’s just a short term solution—what about preventing them?
Tonsil stones often accompany tonsillitis—or inflammation of the tonsils. Some people have chronic tonsillitis, they get it again, and again, and again. And while removing the tonsils is a pretty easy procedure, they are a part of the immune system, so that shouldn’t be a first choice.
One symptom of inflammation can be mucus—think snot when you have a sinus infection. I already told you one part of tonsil stones is calcium—the other is mucus. As stated in the video above, tonsil stones are calcified mucus (more or less).
Preventing tonsil stones amounts to preventing tonsil infections:
-Support your immune system. (Try an immune supporting supplement like colloidal silver, and may I suggest a gargle before you swallow?)
-Keep your mouth clean so your tonsils aren’t working overtime. Floss, brush, and swish & gargle mouthwash. (Flossing gets rid of the another cause of bad breath—plaque).
-Add checking for and removing tonsil stones to your routine.
-If you need another line of offense, try gargling (not swallowing) salt water. People with tonsillitis often say they find it soothing and that it eases symptoms.
-Eat well. There’s a pretty good correlation between a poor diet (too much sugar, not enough of a particular food group, etc.) and bad breath…
Have you ever had a tonsil stone? Did you know what it was?