Tonsil stones, also called tonsilloliths (a Greek word that translates to “tonsil stones”), are a prodigious source of bad breath and chronic halitosis . Made of white or yellow-white calcium salts, tonsil stones lodge in crevasses in the tonsils. These so-called tonsil crypts also trap food and mucous form post-nasal drip, making them a perfect breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria that cause severe halitosis. Some researchers have suggested these bacteria also play a direct role in the formation of tonsil stones. This video on YouTube takes a closer look at how bacteria may cause tonsil stones to form.
No one knows for sure how many people suffer from tonsil stones, but it’s safe to say more people than ever are afflicted by this common malady. Once a common childhood operation, especially during the 1950s to 1970s, tonsillectomies in the United States are down. About 600,000 tonsillectomies are performed annually, down from several million per year in the operation’s heyday.
As more people have kept their tonsils, the number of those who have tonsil stones has risen dramatically. More about tonsils stones at Wikipedia.