They are soft beady like particles stuck at the tonsils and this is common in adults.
They are one of the causes of bad breath and are sometimes dislodged when coughing or gargling the mouth.
This is how it looks like inside the mouth where these tonsil stones are lodged.
|Tonsil Stone lodged in mouth cavity|
Sometimes when we cough or experience the gag reflex, it might be dislodged and if accidentally or intentionally crushed, it emits a very foul odour.
This is because tonsil stones are bacteria, dead cells, decaying leftover and mucus that has calcified over time.
|Dislodged Tonsil Stone outside mouth cavity|
Our tonsils have many small crevices like a sponge that traps infectious particles that can enter via our mouth to our digestive system. Needless to say, it traps also host of other stuff such as our mucus, bits of food, etc.
Though the term tonsil stones make it sounds as bad as kidney stones, they are not as severe as they sound. No evidence though that if left alone, it will lead to other more serious life threatening conditions.
So how to get rid of them on your own and start having fresher breath?
Here are some methods I gathered over the net.
1) Gargle profusely [more at the back of the mouth cavity]
Use solution of warm water and salt to be more effective.
Carbonated water or mouthwash is also suggested for gargling.
2) Use a cotton bud and torchlight and mirror
Exercise caution and care in order not to damage the soft tissues at the tonsils.
Some bleeding is normal but be gentle.
Some say it is like squeezing a zit [ pimple ]
You have to gently press the tissue around it and not on the stone itself to dislodge it.
3) Use a oral irrigator [ basically water hose with a curved nozzle tip to reach blind areas ]
Start with small pressure in order not to cause any damage to tissues at tonsils.
[ See pic and info here ]
4) Hard Tongue Thrashing
Press the back of your tongue on the roof of the mouth, thrash the contact surfaces back and forth
repeatedly, try to create a vacuum in between them to dislodge the tonsil stones.
There are known clinical methods such as taking a prescribed oral antibiotic and having them professionally removed or having the tonsils removed altogether with a surgical procedure.
I personally had tried 1, 2 and 4 and I have managed to dislodged all the visible tonsil stones and am confident about my breath [ although I still need better conversational skills ].
That being said, tonsil stones will still be occurring over time as they continue to trap crap in the crevices of the tonsils, so there are some preventive measures to exercise as well.
a) Drink more water more often
b) Clean the back of the tongue regularly with a scraper
c) Brush teeth after every meal
d) Hard gargling with mouthwash [ step 4 above ]
Hardened Tonsil stones "may" cause infections to the cavity as they scratch the soft tissues around it.
Not too sure if they will be fully digested in accidentally swallowed but I could not find any medical studies relating to the long term effect of swallowing hardened tonsil stones.
There are studies instead, on the tonsils and how they become more of a hindrance with age.
Here are where I did my online research.
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