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How To Prevent Tonsil Stones: Discover Effective Tips Leave a comment

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Tonsils are the part of your mouth and throat that help prevent infection by trapping viruses and bacteria and stopping them from entering the rest of the body. But some people have deep tonsil crevices which can become a place for tiny food particles and bacteria to rest inside them. Well, Tonsil stones form when calcium deposits on these accumulated food particles and bacteria inside the crevices. Though they are not harmful, there can be the chances of bad breath, trouble swallowing, and sore breath. Preventing them from forming can alleviate these symptoms. Wondering, how to prevent tonsil stones? Some home remedies can be helpful but in severe cases, medications or surgery can only benefit. This article will guide you on what tonsil stones are, what causes them, what are their symptoms, and how to prevent them from forming. Read on!

What Are Tonsil Stones?

Tonsil stones, also called “tonsilloliths” in medical terms, are the small and hard lumps that form in the nooks and crannies of the tonsils due to the accumulation of debris. They contain bacteria, food debris, dead cells, and hard minerals such as calcium. Approximately 1.3% of people experience tonsil stones. What do tonsil stones look like? Well, they appear like yellow or white pebbles on the areas of your tonsils which may be one or more in number. Moreover, they are usually small in size but there can be the possibility of larger ones. They are not a matter of concern but can cause some symptoms like bad breath, difficulty in swallowing, and sore throat.

What Causes Tonsil Stones?

Tiny food particles, mucus, bacteria, and dead cells that accumulate in the tonsil crypts also called tonsil folds cause tonsil stones. If the tonsil crypts are large, minerals like calcium get deposited on them which becomes hard by deposition and turns into stones. Certain risk factors can contribute to tonsil stones which might include:

  • Chronic tonsillitis (marked by tonsil inflammation)
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Chronic sinus issues
  • Large tonsils
  • Medications, causing mouth dryness

What Are The Symptoms Of Tonsil Stones?

Research says tonsil stones can be small and asymptomatic (that means showing no symptoms). They can be diagnosed during the dental radiography process. When it comes to large tonsil stones, the following may be the symptoms:

Preventing the distressing tonsil stones from coming back can help get rid of these potential symptoms. The below section explains the best approaches. Take a look!

How To Prevent Tonsil Stones From Forming?

Wondering, how to get rid of and prevent tonsil stones? We have listed some of the effective ways to stop these tiny lumps from coming back. Here, are the top tips:

1. Brush your teeth regularly

If you are looking for how to prevent tonsil stones naturally, then, what can be a better way than practicing good dental hygiene? Good oral hygiene plays a key role in maintaining oral health which helps lower bacteria counts, contributing to tonsil stones. So, always brush your teeth two times a day (in the morning and before going to bed) and floss daily to get rid of bad breath and cavities. Flossing and brushing help reduce bad mouth bacteria. When there are fewer bacteria in the mouth, the risk of their accumulation in tonsil crevices and chances of tonsil stones are low.

2. Gargle using saltwater

A warm salt water gargle is one of the most effective home remedies to get rid of tonsil stones. Along with this, it also relieves sore throat. When you gargle using warm salt water, the accumulated bacteria in the tonsil crevices flush out which is the main reason behind stone formation. The salt alters the acidity levels in your mouth, making it difficult for viruses and bacteria to flourish inside those crevices. Moreover, it also reduces inflammation in the tonsils. Prepare saltwater gargle solution by mixing some salt in a glass of warm water and then perform gargling for about 30 minutes and spit it out. Do this several times especially after you eat to remove food particles, bacteria, and dead cells.

3. Rinse with mouthwash

Rinsing your mouth using mouthwash one or two times a day can reduce the risk of tonsil stones. Make sure to use good-quality therapeutic mouthwashes. They help kill mouth bacteria and prevent tonsil stones from coming back. When picking the mouthwashes, look for the one labeled as alcohol or ethanol-free and also check the active ingredients such as peroxide and cetylpyridinium chloride which benefit in lowering the risk of stone formation. Do not go for cosmetic mouthwashes as they are rich in ethanol which can cause certain issues such as bad breath, throat dryness, and more sensitivity to tonsil stones.

4. Use cotton swabs

If you notice tiny tonsil stones in the back surface of your throat, you can use cotton swabs to remove them. To do this, make the cotton swab damp by dipping it in a saline solution or water and then smoothly press upon that particular small tonsil stone. After that, push it in an upward direction to remove the stone. Keep in mind, do not put too much force on the tonsil stone as it can break the stone apart which can make it go deeper inside the tonsil crevices.

5. Try a Waterpik

A water pick is an effective device that can help prevent tonsil stones from forming again. This machine uses a direct flow of water that can clean the gums and teeth by removing the accumulated bacteria, causing stones. You can use this device by filling the container with lukewarm water and aiming the flow of water on the stones. Make sure to start the process with low pressure and then slowly increase it till the stone won’t be removed. Also, direct the water stream at the right angle so that it doesn’t hurt your throat.

6. Avoid use of alcohol

Drinking alcohol has short-term as well as long-term effects on your body. Its short-term impact may include peeing more often which as a result can lead to dehydration. Moreover, according to research, alcohol might also change the concentration of your saliva. This can cause dryness in the mouth. Both these factors can dry out your throat and mouth which can trigger the growth of bacteria and increase the chances of stones formation on tonsils.

7. Quit smoking

Smoking affects the entire body part including the tonsils. A study says that smoking lowers mucosal immunity and decreases saliva production which severely impacts the entire oral microflora. Such changes in oral health lead to more tonsillar infections. Moreover, it causes chronic inflammation in the throat and mouth and alters the number of bacteria in the mouth. All these transformations put your oral health at risk of tonsil stones.

8. Drink a lot of water

Drinking plenty of water is very essential for your optimal health. It can, however, also help get rid of stones from forming again. How? Staying hydrated throughout the day maintains the balance of mouth bacteria. This means the fewer bacteria in the mouth, the less the risk of developing tonsil stones. Also, having a lot of fluid in a day cleans off your tonsils regularly. This will keep crevices of tonsils debris-free. Moreover, water can even remove bacteria and dead cells from the tonsils.

9. Gargle with apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is well-known for its acidic properties which can help break down the tonsil stones apart in small pieces and clean them off completely. Prepare a solution by mixing one tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar and one cup of lukewarm water. Gargle gently using this mixture for about 30 seconds. Repeat the process many times till the tonsil stones do not dissolve. But it is important to keep in mind that do not use it raw as it can irritate your throat and mouth, causing a burning sensation. Instead, dilute it with some water before using it.

However, if you do not find these approaches effective in preventing tonsil stones and they keep coming back, your healthcare providers might recommend other options that may include medications and treatments. We have explained about them in the section below!

How To Prevent Tonsil Stones Permanently?

Permanent tonsil stone treatment includes non-surgical and surgical options. The healthcare professionals may provide certain medications like antibiotics which help lower the bacteria counts, responsible for causing tonsil stones. Moreover, if the case is severe, they may suggest surgery. The following are three main procedures to remove tonsil stones:

  • Tonsillectomy: In this procedure, medical specialists remove the tonsils. Though, it is an effective method bleeding can happen and recovery time can vary.
  • Laser Tonsil Cryptolysis: If you want to keep your tonsils, then, try laser tonsil cryptolysis. Instead of removing the tonsils, professionals will clean the trapping crypts only.
  • Coblation Tonsil Cryptolysis: This procedure makes use of radiofrequency to treat the tonsil crevices where the stones grow. Similar to laser TC, it does not go for tonsil removal.

Summing Up

We learn in this article how to prevent tonsil stones. Tonsil stones are in general tiny, hard lumps that grow on the crevices of the tonsils. They are harmless, but they can cause some discomforting symptoms such as bad breath, sore throat, ear pain, and difficulty in swallowing. With some natural approaches like cotton swabs, apple cider vinegar, regular brushing, gargling with salt water, rinsing with mouthwash, drinking a lot of water, and quitting alcohol and smoking, you can get rid of them. However, if they continue forming again, you need to consult the doctors. The professionals might suggest some antibiotics to reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth or if the case is severe, they may recommend surgery for permanent treatment.

Related Read: How To Make Tonsil Stones Fall Out?

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes tonsil stones and how to prevent them?

Debris formed in the tonsils causes tonsil stones and you can prevent them by brushing your teeth, gargling with saltwater, cotton swabbing, gargling with apple cider vinegar, and avoiding alcohol and smoking.

How to prevent tonsil stones from coming back?

Try the following tips such as quitting smoking, brushing your teeth two times regularly, gargling with apple cider vinegar and saltwater, coughing, and using cotton swabs

How to prevent bad breath from tonsil stones?

Use mouthwash, brush your teeth regularly, drink plenty of water, try saltwater gargle, and visit the dentist.

How to prevent gagging when removing tonsil stones?

While removing tonsil stones, do not touch the middle area of your throat as it stimulates the gag reflex.

How to prevent tonsil stones forever?

The only way to prevent tonsil stones forever is via tonsillectomy, in which doctors remove the tonsils permanently.

How to prevent tonsil stones fast?

Use cotton swabs, cough, gargle using saltwater, use Waterpik, and quit alcohol and smoking.

How to prevent tonsil stones without surgery?

You can prevent tonsil stones without surgery by practicing good oral hygiene like brushing teeth regularly, flossing one time a day to get the trapped food out, and cleaning the tongue to get rid of bacteria build-up.

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