When someone hears about “having stones,” they generally think of their kidneys and gallbladder. Unlike these painful types, tonsil stones present a relatively low risk to your health. For people who live their whole lives with their tonsils intact, these stones can go unnoticed.
Stones in the tonsils are calcifications of mucous and bacteria. The tonsils are full of deep pockets that are called crypts. This is an appropriate name because they tend to harbor decaying matter. Tiny clumps of semi-soft calculus build in tonsil crypts. Sometimes, they form in the deeper crypts, and they are never detected. Other times, they form near the crypt openings. When this happens, they become visible, and they sometimes dislodge.
Most stones in the tonsils are tiny, but there have been cases of some weighing several grams. They are more common in teenagers than young children and adults because of hormonal shifts. There are many silent signs that you could have stones in your tonsil crypts. These signs do not include harsh sicknesses, but they can become bothersome.
There are many studies showing that chronic halitosis is caused by several types of bacteria in the body outgassing waste materials. Sometimes, this is in the gut and stomach. Very often, it happens in the tonsils. Stones in the tonsils can be positively identified when crushed. Even the smallest stones emit a putrid odor. You can brush your teeth and use mouthwash religiously, but this will not stop the stones in your tonsils from creating bad breath.
Something Feels Stuck
When stones protrude from the tonsils, the skin on the back of your tongue can scrape against them. This will feel like a bit of food is lodged somewhere in the crevices of your throat. Most of the time, it will not matter how hard you swallow and move your tongue. The feeling will continue, and a lot of extra mucous will be produced in your mouth. If these lumps are not painful, it’s likely that they are stones.
Tonsillitis is normally caused by a virus, and it produces flu-like symptoms. Redness and tenderness in the tonsils caused by stones is more irritating than it is sickening. Some people have enough calculus in their tonsils to cause an immune response. This indicates that a tonsil crypt is literally full. If it feels like classic tonsillitis, but there is no fever and aching, the culprit could be stones.
If you look in the back of your throat with a mirror and see tiny white-yellow dots, these are stones. Do not confuse them with white patches that indicate canker-type sores. Stones will not be painful.
Stones in the tonsils can trigger unwanted throat reflexes. These include mild gagging and shallow coughing. If it feels like you constantly need to cough to “get something out of your throat,” it’s a sign that stones might be present.
Ear, Jaw, and Neck Pain
Some people accumulate enough deep stones in their tonsils to affect their auditory canals. This is one of the rarest silent signs of stones, and it can indicate other health problems. Swelling, trouble eating, and nausea can result.
There are many simple things that you can do at home to get rid of tonsil stones. Very light pressure with a finger will dislodge most shallow stones. Be sure not to scrape tissue, and do not try to manually remove deep stones.
Some people have a gag response if they use their fingers to remove stones. In this case, gargling with a saltwater solution will help. There is also an enzyme in raw papaya fruit that can dissolve stones. It’s called papain. Papain powders specifically designed to address problems like stones are available at natural health and vitamin stores.
Do not be alarmed if you see stones on your tonsils. On the other hand, you should understand that they could be the source of some embarrassing problems like bad breath. Start with simple and natural solutions for this very common personal issue.