Tonsil stones cause bad breath, minor discomfort, and sometimes even pain and swelling, but removing tonsil stones is actually fairly easy. There are several options, depending o the circumstance; you will have to try a few to see what works best for you.
Understanding Tonsil Stones
Before you can make a decision about removing tonsil stones, it is best to know exactly what you are dealing with. The spots on your tonsils and the pain you are feeling may lead you to believe that you are suffering from a number of health diseases such as strep throat or mono. However, if your symptoms are limited to embarrassing bad breath and some discomfort in your throat, those spots are very likely just tonsil stones.
A tonsil stone is a hardened build-up of bacteria, mucous, and debris that lodges itself in a crevice in your tonsil. It is embedded there but can usually be dislodged with a little concentrated effort, so removing tonsil stones does not have to require surgery or sometimes any medical treatment at all.
Removing Tonsil Stones at Home
You will need a few items for removing tonsil stones:
- A small flashlight
- A mirror
- A cotton swab
- Lukewarm water
- Oxygenated mouthwash
The procedure of removing tonsil stones requires these steps:
- Soak the cotton swab in lukewarm water until it is drenched but not dripping.
- Holding the mirror and flashlight in one hand, illuminate the throat so that you can see the stone clearly.
- Use the cotton swab to swipe away the stone.
- Gargle with oxygenated mouthwash.
If removing tonsil stones in this manner will cause you to gag, making the procedure impossible, you can use an oral irrigation device, which can be found in most department stores. Send a focused spray of warm water at the stone until you wash it away.
Removing Tonsil Stones with the Help of a Doctor
If these at-home procedures for removing tonsil stones prove unsuccessful, or if the stones are causing pain or swelling, you should consult your physician. He will likely prescribe a round of antibiotics, which will generally be effective in removing tonsil stones. Be sure to take all of the antibiotics as prescribed and educate yourself on possible side effects.
In some cases, your doctor will advise that the best method for removing tonsil stones under your particular circumstances is to have them removed. This is generally an outpatient procedure done in his office with the use of a local anesthetic. Rarely, he will recommend a tonsillectomy if the stones are very large or causing the spread of infection.
Preventing Tonsil Stones
Removing tonsil stones will seldom be necessary if you take proper measures to prevent them:
- Avoid sugary drinks; drink only water. The sugars in sodas and juices stick to the tonsils and can serve as catalysts to the development of tonsil stones.
- Practice good oral hygiene, using oxygenating toothpaste. If you are diligent in cleaning the debris from your mouth, using a toothpaste and an oxygenating mouthwash that kill germs in your mouth and throat, you will have to spend little or no time removing tonsil stones.