Our tonsils are among the first lines of defense against illness. They work like skimmers or nets, trapping bacteria and viruses as they pass through the throat. On occasion bacteria, dead cells and mucus can become trapped in the crevices of the tonsils, gathering and hardening into small white or yellowish stones called tonsil stones .
These stones, also known as tonsilloliths form as a result of calcification of the accumulated bits of food, post-nasal drip and bacteria that collect in and around the tonsil crypts.In severe cases the stones can also form on the roof of the mouth,and if not treated correctly can cause embarrassment if one should pop out when you cough.
In fact, until recently many people thought they were bits of food that simply got caught in the back of the throat. Since many of these are so small, they can be easily overlooked and sometimes aren’t even noticed until they show up on an X-ray or a CT scan. Giant stones have been detected and removed from crevices,although this does not occur too often.
But how do you know if you have tonsil stones?
The symptoms are unpleasant and can be extremely embarrassing. The most common is the feeling of having something stuck in the back of your throat or a feeling of your throat tightening up.
You might have a metallic aftertaste you can’t get rid of and of course, foul breath.
Medical research has shown that 75% of people who suffer from bad breath or halitosis also have tonsil stones. If you have ever dared to take a stone and break it open,you probably gagged as the smell hit your nostrils.
This most foul smell is caused by the bacteria,post nasal drip and the sulphur compound of methyl mercapten and hydrogen sulfide.
Tonsilloliths mostly form in the tonsil crypts and therefore only people who still have their tonsils are at risk of developing them.
As there are very effective treatments available on the market,that will effectively deal with tonsil stones,there is no need to rush out and ask your doctor for a tonsillectomy.