First and foremost, you need to know that tonsil stones can go away on their own.
However, you can speed up the process and help by using home remedies and practicing oral care regiment that will eliminate them.
Tonsil stones are usually quite small, but they can sometimes hide larger ones https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3920671/.
What causes tonsil stones
Before we get to the remedies, we need to explain the subject deeply and thoroughly.
Usually, when you think of stones forming in the human body, you think of kidney stones.
But our kidneys are not the only place where stones can form.
The tonsils are another location where painful stones can develop.
Our tonsils are gland-like structures located in the back of our throat https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19716006.
We have one on each side of the throat.
Tonsils are made of tissue containing lymphocytes, cells that are responsible for prevention and fighting off infections.
The tonsils play a large role in the immune system, and they are meant to function like nets, trapping incoming bacteria and virus particles passing through our throat.
Our tonsils are also filled with nooks and crannies where bacteria and other materials like dead cells can become trapped.
When this happens, the debris becomes concentrated in white formations occurring in the pockets.
Tonsil stones, or medically known as “tonsilloliths”, are formed when the trapped debris calcifies or hardens.
It can happen in most people with chronic inflammation in their tonsils or repeated and recurring tonsillitis.
What are the symptoms of tonsil stones?
If you’ve ever had a tonsil stone, you are probably familiar with the foul odor they can produce.
Tonsil stones can be nonexistent, very small, or large.
The symptoms manifest when the stones are larger.
Here are some of the classic symptoms of tonsil stones:
- White or yellow flecks at the back of your throat, which you can notice easily when looking in the mirror
- Bad breath, as tonsil stones smell bad. Bad breath is usually the first sign of tonsil stones, and it happens due to bacteria accumulating in your mouth
- Sore throat, as tonsil stones can cause both pain and discomfort in the throat
- Tonsil swelling, as tonsil stones act as a breeding ground for bacteria, causing the tonsils to become inflamed
- If the stones are large enough, you will have trouble swallowing
- In some cases, you might experience ear pain, as the tonsil stone shares same nerve channels with the ear
Home remedies that work
As mentioned previously, in some cases, tonsil stones can go away on their own.
But in most cases, using home remedies is what makes the difference between waiting, and having an infection-free mouth.
Here are some remedies that work.
1. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a staple in the kitchen.
Almost every household has some ACV.
And vinegar is not only good for cooking, but for taking care of many conditions and illnesses as well http://journals.christuniversity.in/index.php/mapana/article/view/1514.
ACV can help with a wide variety of ailments, and tonsil stones belong to the list.
For a natural remedy against tonsil stones, add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water.
Gargle between one and three times per day.
Due to the antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar, you can break down the stones and dislodge them from their unapproved resting place.
Being that stones develop due to debris, antimicrobial foods can be great for tonsil stones.
And we all know garlic has potent and powerful antimicrobial and antibacterial properties https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4784133/.
All you have to do is chew some raw garlic to kill the bacteria within a tonsil stone.
Garlic is one of the most potent antibacterial foods.
It can kill even the hardiest bacterial stones.
Chew a clove of garlic once per day to kill that odor-producing bacteria.
If you want, you can also consume crushed raw garlic.
Just let it sit for 10 minutes before consuming it to increase its allicin content.
3. Cotton swab
If you are looking for an easy and inexpensive way to get rid of tonsil stones, look no further than a cotton swab.
All you have to do is dampen the cotton swab, and then use it to gently loosen the tonsil stones.
Do this by lightly pressing on the tissue directly around the tonsil stone.
Position the cotton swab behind the stones as much as possible.
This way, when the stones pop out, it goes toward the front of the mouth, not the throat.
Once the stone pops, spit it out and gargle with salt water to get rid of remains of the stone.
Do not be aggressive if the stone does not come out.
4. Oil pulling
This is method commonly used for oral hygiene in the Ayurvedic medicine https://medium.com/forever-young/why-ayurvedic-oil-pulling-is-best-way-to-detoxify-your-body-4064742f7a6f.
It is a great oral detoxification method, and all you need is a tablespoon of oil.
Commonly, we use coconut or olive oil.
Swish a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes, and then spit it out.
Not only will it help with tonsil stones, but oil pulling will help you against cavities and gum diseases.
5. Salt water gargle
As mentioned previously, gargling with salt water can remove the remains of tonsil stones.
It is one of the best ways to prevent, and treat tonsil stones at the same time.
You need just half a teaspoon of salt and one glass of water.
Mix them, and gargle daily, even few times per day.
Can you prevent tonsil stones?
One of the best home remedies for tonsil stones is prevention.
As in, prevent something before you have to treat it.
Here are some tips for preventing tonsil stones.
- Practice good oral hygiene, as tonsil stones form from undigested food particles and other debris
- Stay hydrated because dry mouth with too little saliva production makes it a great breeding ground for bacteria
- Consume probiotics to ensure a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in your body
In most cases, tonsil stones do not lead to health complications.
However, in some cases, they can grow large, and home remedies will not help.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should look for a medical advice:
- If your tonsils are swollen, red, and you experience pain
- You’ve removed tonsil stones at home, but you experience pain following the removal
- You cannot fully remove the stone at all
- You experience tonsil stone symptoms, but you cannot see the stones
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