Do you frequently feel severe pain while swallowing or do you suffer from bad breath? Do you have a metallic taste in your mouth sometimes or get a sore throat frequently?
If your answer to these questions is a nodding yes, you may be suffering from tonsil stones. While you may not have heard of it before, the obscurity of the illness doesn’t affect its prevalence.
- What are Tonsil Stones?
- Causes and Symptoms of Tonsil Stones
- How to Treat Tonsil Stones
- Method 1: Gargle with Saline Water
- Method 2: Gargle with Diluted Hydrogen Peroxide
- Method 3: Extract the Stone
- Tips to get rid of tonsil stones
What are Tonsil Stones?
Tonsil stones, also known as tonsillitis, are gland-like lumps of calcified material that form in the back of your throat on your tonsils. Weighing somewhere between 0.3 g to 42 g, tonsil stones are mainly composed of calcium and other minerals like ammonia, magnesium, phosphorus, and carbonate in traces. (3)
Causes and Symptoms of Tonsil Stones
Your tonsils are filled with nooks and crannies that trap bacteria, mucus, and dead cells. This debris then concentrates, leading to white formations in the pockets. The calcification and hardening of this trapped debris in the tonsils lead to tonsil stones.
Although most tonsil stones do not cause any major symptoms, some larger stones may bring along troubles like bad breath, a sore throat, white debris, difficulty swallowing, pain in the ear or swelling in the tonsils. (3)
How to Treat Tonsil Stones
The appropriate treatment for tonsil stones primarily depends on the size of the stone and its potential to cause discomfort or harm.
While medical interventions are the best way to treat tonsil stones, you can also remove them at their initial stage with some simple home remedies. However, for large tonsil stones, it is best to seek medical treatment.
You can try any of these three methods to get rid of small tonsil stones fast and easily.
Method 1: Gargle with Saline Water
Gargling with saline water is probably one of the best ways to treat tonsil stones, as it breaks up the phlegm that settles in the back of your throat. (3)
A saline water rinse flushes out all the mucus, food material, sustenance particles, bodily fluid and material that accumulate in the tonsils, while also soothing your sore throat.
Moreover, it prevents amassing of tonsil stones, while also killing the bad odor brought about by clogged debris and bacteria. Plus, the warm water soothes your tonsils, and the salt reduces inflammation, thus providing instant relief.
Step 1. Add salt to the water
- Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt in a cup of warm water.
Step 2. Use the saline water to gargle
- Thoroughly mix the solution.
- Gargle with the solution for 2 minutes, preferably before going to bed and after waking up in the morning.
Repeat this as often as possible for speedy recovery.
Method 2: Gargle with Diluted Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide diluted with water makes an effective gargling solution to get rid of halitosis. Its powerful oxidizing, antiseptic and antibacterial properties help purify the mouth and remove the white particles accumulated in the tonsils. (1)
Hydrogen peroxide creates a foam-like bubbling effect in the mouth that loosens and dislodges the stones, knocking them out of the soft tissues that they are caught in.
Step 1. Add hydrogen peroxide to water
- Add 1 tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide in a glass of water.
Always prepare a fresh batch of the diluted solution every time you wish to gargle, as hydrogen peroxide breaks down quite quickly in the light.
Step 2. Mix the solution well and gargle
- Mix the solution well to dilute hydrogen peroxide in water.
- Gargle for 2 to 3 minutes for quick relief from the pain.
- Repeat the process twice daily for several days, preferably after brushing your teeth in the morning and the evening before going to bed.
Method 3: Extract the Stone
If the tonsil stone is visible and not painful, you can attempt to dislodge it. Simply grab a cotton swab, toothbrush or even use your finger to work out the stone. (2)
The most important step is to identify the stone. While most people can see the tonsil stone with their naked eyes, sometimes it may be buried within the tissue of the tonsils. Use a flashlight or a magnifying mirror to locate your tonsil stone clearly, and make the extraction successful without hurting your tonsil.
The place where you spot a white or yellowish calcification deposit is the area you need to work on. If it causes any pain, discontinue working on it and see your doctor instead.
Here are three easy methods for extracting tonsil stones at home:
# Use a Cotton Swab
You can use a cotton swab to knock out a tonsil stone. The cotton swab method is most effective, as it helps pop out small, stubborn stones.
- With a flashlight, locate the stone.
- Wet both ends of the cotton swab to make it soft and glide gently against the tonsil.
- Use the wet cotton swab to apply pressure to the lower half of the tonsil.
- Gently move it upward with the same amount of pressure. This will loosen the stone.
- Scrape and remove it gently from the tonsil walls.
- Gargle with saline water or mouthwash to rinse out any remaining particles.
# Use a Toothbrush
You can use a toothbrush to extract your tonsil stone. The mild strokes of a toothbrush massaging the area around the stone will help loosen and break it up. An electric toothbrush may be even more effective, due to the vibrations helping to dislodge the stone.
When using an ordinary soft-bristle toothbrush:
- Locate the position of the tonsil stone using a flashlight.
- Apply pressure on the tonsil with the bristles until the stone comes loose.
- Push the stone out of its pocket.
- Gargle with saline water or mouthwash to knock out any remaining particles.
When using an electric toothbrush:
- Locate the position of the tonsil stone using a flashlight.
- Switch on your electric toothbrush and place the smooth side of the brush (backside) against your tonsil.
- Apply pressure on the area where the stone is.
- Allow the vibrations to scrub the stone and break it up.
- Finish with a mouthwash or saline water gargle to cleanse your mouth of any residue.
# Use Your Finger
Pushing on your tonsil with your finger is probably the best and easiest method for dislodging a tonsil stone. All you have to do is insert your finger in your mouth and gently nudge the tonsil from the underside.
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Open your mouth and locate your tonsil stone with your finger. Do not reach too far back, lest you may trigger your gag reflex.
- Once you locate the stone, apply pressure to push up the stone so that it pops out.
- Do not scrape too hard, as this may lead to bleeding of the tonsil.
- Rinse out your mouth with saline water. This will clear the area and prevent any bleeding.
Tips to get rid of tonsil stones
- Develop good daily oral hygiene to prevent tonsil stones. Brush your teeth regularly for a clean and bacteria-free environment in the mouth.
- Discard old toothbrushes and replace your toothbrush every three months for proper cleaning of your teeth and gums.
- Drink plenty of water to eliminate any debris and keep the mouth naturally moist.
- Use lozenges, sugar-free breath mints, mouth rinses and toothpaste fortified with oxygenating ingredients to flush away multiple problems including odor, low oxygen levels, and dry mouth.
- Get a regular checkup to see if any tonsil stones are forming. Detecting the problem early makes it easier to treat and remove.
- Use a tongue scraper to remove the bio-film and dead skin cells that may stick to your tongue and lead to tonsil stones.
- AL-Omiri MK, Hassan RSA, et al. Improved tooth bleaching combining ozone and hydrogen peroxide-A blinded study. Journal of Dentistry. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0300571216300100. Published January 27, 2016.
- Senska G, Atay H, Pütter C, Dost P. Long-Term Results From Tonsillectomy in Adults. Deutsches Arzteblatt international. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4732178/. Published December 2015.
- Tonsillitis: Overview. Informed Health Online [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK401249/. Published January 17, 2019.
Summary of How to Get Rid of Tonsil Stones Fast and Easily
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