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Tonsil Stones

Tonsil stones are little white or yellow lumps coughed up. They smell terrible due to volatile sulfur compounds and bacteria. Tonsil stones are only found in people who have their tonsils. Normally the little dead cells in the tonsils shed and are swallowed, but for some people (with tonsil stones), the dead cells accumulate and form a hard little ball, they also attract bacteria. 7 % of the world’s population has tonsil stones.

What essentially happens is a piece of matter forms in the crevasses of your tonsils. If this piece of matter is too big you may be able to feel it with your tongue. Tonsil stones often cause bad breath, but don’t worry, they are easily removed. To completely remove tonsil stones and prevent them from returning the only option would be surgery to remove your tonsils, but other temporary relievers will work.

Self-removal – Some people insist on removing tonsil stones with just their fingernail. This is not sanitary and you may scratch your tonsil. You can use an oral analgesic like Chloraseptic to suppress your gag reflex.

Cotton swab – If you insist on using a cotton swab to push against the bottom of the tonsil and pushing upward until the stones squeezes out. Moisten the swab with water before sticking the swab into your mouth.

Toothbrush – Out of these 1st 3 methods, using a toothbrush is the best idea. Although it may provoke the gag reflex, its more effective and more sanitary than the 1st two. Gently brush the portion of the tonsil where you believe the tonsil stone is.

High-tech – A high tech option is a Waterpik Irrigator. This costs about 40 dollars. The tongue attachment sprayed directly into the area containing the tonsil stone should immediately dislodge it. Use the lowest setting possible as any other setting may tear through tonsil tissue.

Gargle – Gargling with salt water, cider vinegar, or mouthwash can help to extricate the stone.

Flex – No, not your muscles. Flex your throat, raise your tongue to the roof of your mouth and swallow. This tenses your tonsils and can your tonsil stones to pop out.

Drink carbonated drinks – Club soda, seltzer water, and tonic water have been helpful in dislodging tonsil stones. This may take a while though.

Medicine droppers – Medicine droppers, especially with a curved tip, can suck out small stones. First irrigate the area with saline (salt water) and then suck out the stone with the dropper.

Be extremely careful when undertaking any of the methods listed above. The tonsils and throat are incredibly sensitive, and can be injured or aggravated quite easily. Embedded tonsilloliths (which develop inside tonsils) are not simply removed, but will naturally dislodge from the tonsils over time.

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