Ever remembering hacking or coughing up a whitish-yellow ball? If yes, it’s probably a tonsil stone. Also called a tonsillolith, tonsillar debris, or calculus of the tonsil, a tonsil stone is a smelly ball of bacteria, food, and debris found in your throat, which might be the underlying cause for that bad breath you’ve been trying to get rid of.
Tonsilloliths might be a result of dead white blood cells, oral bacteria, or overactive salivary glands (they might be a combination of all three as well, watch out!) While these stones are definitely uncomfortable and cause irritation and halitosis, they are not necessarily harmful. You might want to go for tonsillectomy (removal of tonsils), which is a very effective treatment. Nevertheless, if you decide on non-surgical alternatives, you might want to try the following tonsil stones home remedies:
- Gargling with salt water every morning and every time after meals.
- Using an antibacterial mouthwash (Make sure it’s non-alcoholic!)
- Trying sucking them out with a curved medicine dropper or a q-tip or toothpick (Try not to be too harsh)
- Rinsing your mouth with water every time you eat or drink something (other than water, of course!)
- Maintaining a good oral hygiene
- Quick brushing with a toothbrush down the throat (This might be a little tough due to the gag reflex)
- Use some devices (like a water-jet device) for hosing down those tonsils and cleaning our those nasty crypts.
You should still consider that trip to your ENT specialist. The doctor might put you on antibiotics and will know what’s best for your condition. Laser resurfacing is very common these days and considered better than tonsillectomy in most cases.
Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Make sure you gargle regularly with salt water (preferably lukewarm), cider vinegar, or a non-alcohol or non-sugar-based mouthwash, and you’ll be good to go!