Authored by Heather M. Hajek in Diseases
Published on 08-25-2009
Tonsil Stones are little white or cream-colored particles found in the back of our throats that cause bad breath and sometimes a sore throat. Many of us probably have recognized coughing up or seeing these white round particles attached to our tonsils in the back of the throat. However, like me, you may not have realized they are actually named. These white round particles which have a bad odor and may eventually require medical care are known as tonsil stones or tonsilloliths. Many tonsil stones are probably swallowed and unnoticed. However, others are attached to the back of the throat and must be physically removed.
I scanned the web in search of what these white things were in my throat that was causing the itching sensation. I did not realize so many others were suffering with the same thing. Whether you have noticed bad breath that you cannot seem to get rid of, or the fact that you have something tickling your throat, you probably have tonsil stones. My issues began with bad breath and the fact that I had something scratching my throat every time I swallowed. No matter how gross it may seem I was determined to get whatever this was out of my throat.
While trying to avoid gagging, I reached in the back of my throat with my finger and scratched the place that had been causing the scratching in the back of my throat. After a couple tries, there was a particle, which came off in my mouth. I quickly spat it out. It was a round oblong shaped piece, feeling about the texture of dough. It was a tonsil stone. If you were to hold one to your nose you would probably be disgusted at the smell! It actually made my stomach turn. Can you imagine the poor people you have been talking to?
Tonsil stones can be caused from several factors including trapped food particles, white blood cells that have died, oral microorganisms, or salivary glands that are over productive. Tonsil stones, the gross little white smelly particles found in our throats are actually very common. While they are not dangerous, tonsil stones do cause havoc for our oral hygiene.
When attempting to rid yourself of these stinky little creatures, you could take the approach I did and try to use your finger to scrap them from the back of the throat. If you would prefer a cleaner solution, try a Q-tip or water pik to remove the tonsil stones from the throat. In the future, for prevention measures, gargle with warm salty water, mouthwash or use nasal spray developed to prevent them from forming. Doctors may also prescribe antibiotics to help treat the irritation of the tonsils.
Tonsillectomy surgery is the only way to get rid of tonsil stones forever. While most people would probably prefer avoiding surgery there are those that would rather not deal with this rather gross and smelly encounter again. For those who would rather avoid surgery, they can take steps to insure good oral hygiene, along with gargling or using nasal spray.