Tonsil stones are a fairly prevalent oral hygiene problem that afflicts millions of people in the United States. Caused by germs, post nasal drip, food particles and other debris that accumulate in small crevasses called tonsil crypts, these tiny off-white or yellowish stones produce notoriously bad breath. Because of this, many commentators have called the putrid odor of tonsil stones the “death aroma”.
In addition to halitosis, tonsil stones often are responsible for the very irritating sensation of a foreign body being caught in the back of the throat. Many afflicted with tonsil stones are so troubled by these unwanted indications that they actually consider the extreme step of permitting their tonsils to be surgically removed in a procedure called a tonsillectomy.
Tonsillectomies were once one of the most common operations, especially during the 1950s and 1960s, when children frequently had their tonsils taken out. Today, America’s doctors perform about 600,000 tonsillectomies annually. Because the total number of tonsillectomies is down, many more people still have their tonsils than in the past. As a result, tonsil stones are more prevalent today than they once were.
While a tonsillectomy will alleviate the symptoms of tonsil stones, virtually all medical authorities regard the procedure to be a much too radical solution to the dilemma of tonsil stones. This is definitely the case for adults pondering the procedure. As we age, the risk of unwanted surgical complications, even from minor surgery, goes up significantly.
Fortunately, surgery is rarely if ever necessary and treating tonsil stones without a tonsillectomy is generally uncomplicated. Those who have tonsil stones can usually remove the stones by themselves through coughing, massaging the throat, or with the assistance of a Q-Tip or oral irrigation tool like a Waterpik. Occasionally, however, those with a strong gag reflex may find it necessary to visit an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, or ENT.
Even when they have been removed, tonsil stones can and do come back. A handful of e-books now being sold on the Web recommend different natural remedies for preventing tonsil stones. Modifications to the diet, especially those that stress the importance of high fiber foods and stopping the consumption of milk and other dairy products, may also alleviate symptoms.
If natural remedies don’t provide the relief you’re looking for, consider the use of an oxygenating rinse and nasal sinus drops. These will fight the accumulation of oral bacteria and secretions in the tonsil crypts and help prevent the recurrence of tonsil stones.