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Has Anyone Ever Heard of Tonsil Stones?

By July 14, 2008 - 9:45am
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Over the weekend, a friend of mine was talking about tonsil stones -- essentially a white build up on the tonsil that can lead to some pretty foul breath. She was saying she has removed hers with a q-tip. But I have also read some people remove them with a water pick. Has anyone ever had one of these nasties removed by a dentist or a doctor? Are they safe to remove on our own?

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EmpowHER Guest

I have them, They are a pain. I remove them with a waterpik. They are absolutely safe to remove at home, as long as you don't cause any bleeding. If you have it really bad I would see a doctor. But doctors just give you antibiotics, which eventually they'll come back. I wish I could find a doctor that would approve of me getting my tonsils removed, That way I never have to worry about them coming up at times when they shouldn't, and so on.

October 7, 2009 - 9:15pm
EmpowHER Guest

i had one for a few days. i had no idea what it was. i thought i had strep or something. but it felt too hard and i could feel it scratching my tongue on the side. it didnt make since and it felt like i had something stuck in my thought. so one night i just started trying to hock a lugie to see what would come out and tha thing that was growing on the side om my tonsil came flying out. I almost thru up cuz it was so sickening.

October 7, 2009 - 12:04am
EmpowHER Guest

I too suffered from tonsil stones for several months and had a similar regiment to the nan68. The smell and taste is horrendous and is very frustrating and annoying. Before I knew what they were I often felt as though I had food stuck in my tonsils... very annoying!!

It doesn't take long before you become obsessed with the stones... constant worries about foul breath, checking your tonsils several times a day for new stones, etc. I personally used a q-tip to remove them, as I would press on the tonsils and multiples would come out, even though I couldn't previously see them. As someone who brushes their teeth three times a day and has never had a cavity having up to 2 dozen stones in a single day makes you feel like you have terrible hygene, which really has nothing to do with the problem.

I am in my mid twenties and decided to have my tonsils removed, partially because of chronic sore throats, but mainly because of the stones. Having your tonsils out so late in life isn't fun, but it is the ONLY way to get rid of this disgusting problem for good... would do it again in a heartbeat!!

Consult with an ENT if you want advice, as this is who would take them out if you go that route. My doctor was very frank with the advantages and disadvantages of taking them out, which is helpful!

Good Luck!! :)

July 28, 2008 - 11:59am

I had never heard of this condition, so I Googled it, too! Here's what I found on the Reference.com wiki:

A tonsillolith (also called tonsil stone or calculus of the tonsil) is a piece (or more commonly, a cluster) of calcareous matter which forms in the rear of the mouth, in the crevasses (called tonsillar crypts) of the palatine tonsils (which are what most people commonly refer to as simply tonsils).

Tonsil stones, it is theorized, are the result of a combination of any of the following:

* food particles
* dead white blood cells (a.k.a. leukocytes)
* oral bacteria
* overactive salivary glands

Protruding tonsilloliths have the feel of a foreign object, lodged between the outside of wisdom teeth and the temporomandibular joint region of the fleshed jaw. They may be an especially uncomfortable nuisance, but are not often harmful. They are one possible cause of halitosis.

Tonsilloliths occur more frequently in adults than in children. Symptoms are usually non-specific such as sore throat, chronic cough, bad taste in the back of the throat, or otalgia. A foreign body sensation may also exist in the back of throat with recurrent foul breath (halitosis). Treatment is usually removal of concretions by curettage; larger lesions may require local excision.

Tonsilloliths tend to be present in young adolescents and can manifest with bad breath and swallowing pain accompanied by a foreign body sensation and, in some cases, referred ear pain. The condition may also prove asymptomatic, with detection upon palpating a hard intratonsillar or submucosal mass.

July 14, 2008 - 4:54pm

I can tell you from first hand experience how nasty this is. My doctor told me the correct name for this condition but I have long forgotten. A few of my friends and I call it tonsil cheese. Yes, I know it's a nasty way to describe it, but very fitting, as the "stones" are actually a rubbery texture, yellow to white color and have the most horrendous smell. In talking with various people, I've found that many people have coughed up these things and didn't realize they came from the tonsils, so I think many people have the problem from time to time. I had it all the time. About 3 times a day I did what I called a tonsil harvest. I would take the pointy end from those flosser sticks and pick them off and out of the crypts of the tonsils. I was constantly embarrassed by my breath, it became a habit that I held my hand over my mouth while talking closely to anyone.

The "stones" ranged in size from a sesame seed to as large as a common ladybug. Sometimes I would see the white under the skin of the tonsil and a day later it would split open, causing a new crypt to form and the stone would fall out into the back of my throat causing me to cough it up. I'm sorry if this all sounds offensive, but I think it's good to talk about this if others have the same problem.

2 years ago I had my tonsils removed, due this problem and also repeated bouts of tonsillitis. The tonsillectomy had complications, I hemorrhaged a week after the surgery, but I would do it again in a heartbeat! I haven't had any problems since and I never worry about bad breath any longer.

July 14, 2008 - 2:48pm

I have never heard of these before you mentioned them and googled the topic and saw pics. I wish I hadn't! Gross! :)

Some websites have various methods for removal - some for a pretty high cost - so I won't give links as I can't verify the safety of these products (or even if they work) but I'd check with a doctor or dentist on the next visit.

July 14, 2008 - 12:38pm
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