If a recent visit to the dentist revealed that you have tonsil stones, you may want to know more about what these are, where they came from, and how to get rid of them. Tonsil stones are fairly normal and are not usually dangerous for your health, but they can be annoying and painful. Here are three things you should know if your dentist tells you that you have tonsil stones.
What Are They?
If you have your tonsils, you have a chance of developing tonsil stones. Tonsil stones are small balls that are usually white or yellow in color, and they get trapped inside the pockets of your tonsils. Anything that is in your mouth can get trapped in these areas, which will lead to the development of tonsil stones. This includes food, bacteria, and mucous.
When these items get trapped in your tonsils, they begin to calcify, which means they harden. In many cases, you can see these small stones if you look inside your mouth with a flashlight and a mirror. In other cases, the tonsil stones are hidden inside areas of the tonsils that you cannot see.
A lot of people that have tonsil stones feel pain and discomfort from them. They may suffer from sore throats, swollen tonsils, ear pain, or trouble swallowing. If your tonsil stones are not bothering you, you may not need to have treatment for them. If they are bothering you though, you should find a way to remove them.
Tonsil stones tend to have a horrible odor, which is why they can cause bad breath if left inside the mouth.
How Can You Remove Tonsil Stones?
There are several at-home methods you can try for removing tonsil stones, or you can visit your dentist to have them removed. To remove them yourself, you will need a mirror and a flashlight to see what you are doing. You will also need a tool of some kind to pull them out of your mouth. You may want to try using a dental pick or cotton swab to do this. As you look inside your mouth, you can try to dislodge the stone out of place with your tool.
Another option is to gargle salt water. Salt water will clean your mouth and may help loosen the stones. This is a good option to try prior to removing the stones with a swab or pick.
You could also try using a water flosser to loosen and remove the stones. To do this, you will need to point the water stream at the tonsils and turn the device on to the highest setting. The pressure of the water might be strong enough to push the stones out of place.
If nothing works to remove the stones in your tonsils, you could talk to your dentist about other options. Your dentist might be able to remove them, or he or she might suggest having your tonsils removed.
Are There Ways To Avoid Getting More?
After removing a tonsil stone from your mouth, you will probably want to find out how to prevent them from returning. There is no guaranteed method that will help you eliminate tonsil stones for good (other than getting your tonsils removed), but there are steps you can take that may decrease your chances of developing stones in the future. Here are some tips:
- Brush your tongue each time you brush your teeth – Bacteria tends to settle inside the tongue, and the only way to remove this might be through brushing it.
- Gargle with salt water for prevention – Because salt is an antiseptic, it will clean your mouth and help you eliminate bacteria from it. If you can keep bacteria out of your mouth, you may be able to keep tonsil stones away.
- Avoid dry mouth – Certain activities and medications can lead to dry mouth, and dry mouth often leads to tonsil stones. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol, and try to drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated.
Tonsil stones are smelly, painful, and gross, but you might be able to avoid them with the right steps. Click here for info about this or to contact a local family dentist.