Tonsil Stones


A tonsil stone is also known as a tonsillolith, is a pieces of calcareous matter which forms in the rear of the mouth, in the crevasses (called tonsillar crypts) of the tonsils. Besides causing bad breath, tonsil stones also cause the unpleasant sensation of having a foreign object lodged in the back of the throat. The symptoms include a metallic taste, throat closing or tightening, coughing fits, and choking.

Tonsil Stone Facts

Roughly 30,000 people in the U.S. suffer from chronic tonsil stones.

People with this condition typically suffer from the following symptoms to varying degrees: tonsillitis; swelling in the throat and tonsils; cough and pain swallowing; sinus congestion; aches and sore muscles; fever and chills; and, most commonly, horrifically bad breath.

  • What are: A tonsil stone is a mineral deposit that forms in the crevasses of the tonsils. The deposit is made up of a number of minerals and chemicals that amass and solidify.
  • Causes: They are usually caused by illness or bacteria, and their presence makes you more likely to become sick. But the vicious cycle can be stopped once and for all.
  • Symptoms: Common symptoms are bad breath and an unpleasant feeling of something stuck in the back of your mouth. The majority of people who suffer from chronic bad breath have tonsil stones.
  • Treatment: With the right supplies from around your own home, you might be able to rid yourself temporarily of smaller tonsil stones; more severe deposits may require you to seek medical attention.
  • Tonsil Stone Products: Tonsil stone removal kits include all the supplies you need to treat your own tonsil stones. These kits come in a variety of sizes; the kits with the greater amount of supplies being designed for more serious cases.
  • Research: They are typically made up of a number of minerals and chemicals that amass and solidify; While most people agree on the basics of what tonsil stones are, there are varying reports of how to successfully deal with them.

Tonsil Stone / Tonsillolith Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below are some frequently asked questions about this condition (The appropriate medical term is Tonsillolith) in details.

Question 1 : What is a tonsil stone?

It is a piece or a cluster of pieces of calculi that form in crypts, pits, or crevasses in the tonsil area. Calculi are made up of calcium salts such as oxalates, magnesium salts, hydroxyapatite and other ammonium containing radicals. The medical term for tonsil stones is “Tonsillolith”. The stones generally consist of food particles, leukocytes or dead white blood cells, bacteria that enters into the mouth, and excess saliva from overactive salivary glands. Bacteria growth, fungi, and the digestive enzymes found in saliva begin to break down food trapped in the tonsils. Starch and carbohydrates are eaten away and leave the firmer harder parts of food particles in the tonsils to form stones.

Question 2 : What do tonsil stones look like?

They are small and off-white in color, similar in size and appearance to sesame seeds. They generally have a very pungent odor comparable to halitosis, or bad breath caused by bacteria in the throat. They are often found lodged between the wisdom teeth and the temporomandibular joint of the jaw. They are often first noticed because they can become an uncomfortable nuisance.

picture of tonsil stone removed
Pictured Above : Tonsillolith / Tonsil Stone Removed
tonsillolith tonsil stone stuck in tonsil
Pictured Above : Tonsil Stone Stuck in tonsil Crypts

Question 3 : Are They a Health Risk? What are the symptoms?

They may be an especially uncomfortable nuisance, but are not often harmful.  Tonsil stones and the formation of tonsilloliths occurs in adults much more often than in children. Some will notice non-specific symptoms such as chronic cough, sore throat, and ear ache. Many first notice their tonsil stones when they notice a foreign body in the back of the throat that can be uncomfortable and from the constant foul breath. In small children they are often accompanied by bad breath, swallowing pain, and reflex ear pain. Generally tonsillolith is asymptomatic and is only noticed when small tonsilloliths are found in the saliva. Giant tonsilloliths are much more rare than typical tonsil stones and are often mistaken as tonsil tumors, known as peritonsillar abscess.

Question 4 : What is Cryptic Tonsillitis and why does it cause Tonsil Stones?

The causes can be many but the main are poor oral hygiene and tonsillitis. Sometimes the tonsils accumulates between food that starts to rot and creates a favorable environment for bacterial growth, which in turn attack and invasion of tonsils form pus bags, which we call gems. Another reason may be a cold or flu. As one of the most vulnerable places in your body, the tonsils become inflamed very easily and it usually is a precursor of more serious diseases.

Cryptic Tonsillitis occurs when deep crypts or pits form in the surface of the tonsil.  These deep pits collect fluids and solids that are broken down by enzymes and turned into tonsilloliths or tonsil stones.  They often protrude out from the crypts.

Question 5: How to Treat stones in the tonsils at Home?

There are many natural treatments at home. Some are really effective.

1. Black peppermint extract – not only will help you deal with bad breath, black mint is very useful for the organism. Dip cotton swab into mint and brush thoroughly with her tonsils. Thus it will remove bacteria and cotton will gather stones formed by pus.

2. Salt Water and Cotton – The combination of these three components are successfully used for treatment of sore throat.

3. Eat with toast, butter and paprika – Solids is painful to swallow, but at the same time robbing deposits formed on the tonsils making them free from stones. Pain relief is also very effective with this meal.

4. Honey and walnuts or other nuts – Nuts are placed in a copper concentrate is made as thick and nuts should prevail. Then eat with a large spoon. Honey will help to ease swallowing and walnuts will clean your tonsils pus stuck.

Treatment Options

A water pick (irrigator) with a low pressure tongue-cleaner attachment can be used to clear debris out of the crypts in the tonsil and is an effective method to clear out existing tonsil stones and preventing new ones from forming.

A toothbrush, ear curette, or q-tip can be used to dislodge tonsilloliths, however many find discomfort and experience a gagging sensation.

The stone can be removed using a surgical procedure with an oral curette.

surgical curette used for removing tonsil stonesPictured Above : Oral Curette used for removing Tonsillolith. In some cases when the calculus (tonsil stone cluster) is lodged deep inside the tonsil and large in size, a tonsillectomy or tonsillotomy can be needed. A tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure in which the tonsils are completely removed. A tonsillotomy is when an incision is made into the tonsils or a portion of the tonsils are removed surgically.

Laser resurfacing, also known as laser tonsillotomy or laser tonsillectomy is a long term treatment option. This scanned carbon dioxide laser procedure can be performed under local anesthesia; the laser vaporizes the surface of the tonsils, leaving them flat and smooth and free of pits and crypts.

Above all, do not worry about the fact that you have tonsil stones. They heal, but some people may experience complications and in this case his tonsils removed. To avoid this unpleasant moment, it is desirable to observe strict hygiene and to start treatment immediately after onset of symptoms.

Note: Information and pictures are provided for informational purposes and are not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professionals. You should not use the information contained herein for treating this condition, or prescribing any medication. If you have or suspect that you have this problem, promptly contact your doctor.

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