Treating tonsil stones is essentially a two-step process. In the first step, the tonsil stones are removed from the tonsil crypts, the pocket-like areas in the tonsils where bacteria, food particles and post-nasal drip collect and ultimately lead to the formation of stones.
Besides bad breath, the sensation of having a foreign body stuck in the back of the throat is for many people one of the most maddening symptoms of tonsil stones. Once the stones are removed, there are effective therapies to prevent their return. But where does one start?
Coughing or massaging the throat area under the lower jaw and near the back of the throat can frequently dislodge tonsil stones. If your tonsil crypts are too deep for this method to work, you may need to try dislodging the stones using your finger (wash your hands thoroughly), a toothbrush or cotton swab. These can be used to massage the tonsils and push the stone out of the crypt.
If you have a particularly strong gag reflex, inserting a toothbrush or swab so far back in the mouth may be uncomfortable. An option in this case is to use an oral irrigator. An oral irrigator shoots a thin, pulsed stream of water that can be used to massage gums, clean between the teeth (an alternative to flossing), or to irrigate the tonsil crypts and dislodge tonsil stones.
Oral irrigators can eject a stream of water that is under considerable pressure, so be sure to start on the lowest setting and work up from there as needed if you intend using the irrigator to clear your tonsil stones.
Oral irrigators can be purchased in drug stores or Big Box stores like Wal-Mart. Popular brands like Waterpik and QuickBreeze are also available from Amazon and other well-known online retailers.
If push comes to shove, you may find you’re unable to remove your existing tonsil stones without the help of a healthcare professional. In this case, consider a visit to your dentist or Ear, Nose and Throat specialist (ENT).