What are Tonsil Stones and how to get them out

What are Tonsil Stones and how to get them out

What is a Tonsil stone? 

What is a tonsil stone? That is a question asked by many.  Also known as tonsoliths or tonsilloliths, tonsil stones are clusters of calcified material that is commonly lodged in the tonsil crypts. They are mostly composed of calcium, magnesium and carbonate. Other minerals contained in the tonsil stones are ammonia and phosphorous, two substances that make them have a really nasty smell.

Tonsil stones form when food, mucous and dead cells collect in the tonsil pockets and lump together forming a hard white or yellow mass.  They generally appear as a cluster of small ones though can increase in size and finally be coughed out as a significantly sized white smelly mass.

Tonsil stones are common in people who suffer from tonsillitis and chronic inflammation in their tonsils. 

Though not technically harmful to one’s heath, tonsil stones normally feel like foreign objects stuck in one’s throat and can therefore be very irritating. In fact, they exhibit almost the same signs as tonsillitis. 

They also smell very bad and are common cause of bad breathe also known as halitosis though very few people, including the ones who suffer from them, really know what is a tonsil stone.

What are Tonsil Stones made of? 

One thing is absolutely clear. Tonsil stones are disgusting! But to know how to get rid of them and how to prevent their recurrence, it is important to know what tonsils are made of.

So what are tonsil stones made of? In other words, what causes tonsil stones?

Well, while the real cause of tonsil stones cannot be explained, knowing how they are gotten can explain a thing or two and help us in their prevention. You see when food, dead cells and mucus get trapped in the tonsil pockets, the oral microbes in the mouth attack it with vengeance, digesting and burrowing into it.

The debris is broken down and the remains are deposited in the crevices of the tonsils. This calcified material is what tonsil stones are made of.

It is therefore safe to say that the causes of tonsil stones are food particles and bacteria that feed on the food emitting an unbearable stench that could kill a raccoon.

How do you get Tonsil Stones? 

Tonsil stones are such a nuisance that most people who suffer from them would like to know, exactly how do you get tonsil stones? To answer this question, you need to know what causes tonsil stones.

Simply put, you get tonsil stones when the food you're eating gets trapped in the tonsil pockets. Nasal drip also contributes by adding mucus to the mix and finally dead cells in the mouth join in the party.

Now imagine a dumpster with rotten food, two rats eating away leaving in their wake smelly remains of the food.

In the tonsil stones case, the tonsil pockets are the dumpster, the rotten food is the food, mucus and dead cells debris, the rats are the oral microbes, and the smelly remains are the nasty shit smelling tonsil stones.

That should create a clear vivid picture on how you get tonsil stones.

Are Tonsil Stones Bad?

It is important to know what tonsil stones are made of to know whether they are bad or not. And the answer to that question is that tonsil stones are caused by the bacteria in the mouth acting on the food, mucus and dead cells debris trapped in the tonsil pockets. Though they are not dangerous as such, they can get pretty uncomfortable and they smell real bad.

The  use of antibiotics to kill the said bacteria is one way to cure tonsil stones. This method however has it's limitations as the cure for tonsil stones.

The first limitation is that though it might kill the present bacterias in the mouth, antibiotics do not remove the tonsil stones that have already formed and hidden i the tonsil crevices. To remove them, you might have to use one of known ways of getting rid of tonsil stones.

Another limitation is that this method cannot guarantee that the tonsil stones will not recur. And since antibiotics have their side effects when used for a wrong period of time, antibiotics caanot be used as the longterm cure for tonsil stones.

The only other option is tonsillectomy which is the surgical removal of the tonsils. This works by flattening out the tonsil are thus ridding of the pockets in which the tonsil stones grow.

Are Tonsil Stones Dangerous?

Are tonsil stones dangerous? And how do I tell that I have tonsil stones? And what are tonsil stones symptoms?

To answer the question, what is a tonsil stone, read here to learn what tonsil stones are.

With many small tonsil stones, symptoms are barely noticeable nor dangerous. They only become apparent accidentally on scans or X-rays. This is because they are normally hidden away in the tonsil pockets. Also, most of them are coughed out and swallowed without a person’s knowledge.

For the larger ones though, a number of uncomfortable symptoms can show that there are tonsil stones in throat.

Below are the common tonsil stones symptoms

  • Closing and tightening of the throat
  • Metallic taste in the mouth and at the back of the throat
  • Choking (Feeling like something is stuck in the throat)
  • White debris in the back of the throat
  • Coughing fits
  • Bad breathe (Halitosis) 
  • Tonsil swelling
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Ear ache

 How to Prevent Tonsil Stones


If you ended up here, then you're probably tired of the disgusting white things at the back of your throat and would like to learn how to prevent tonsil stones. As much as their is no sure way to cure and prevent tonsil stones apart from tonsillectomy, there are a few things one can do to decrease their recurrence. Below are ways of preventing tonsoliths:
  • Brush you teeth after every meal: Tonsil stones are basically caused by food remains in the mouth. It therefore goes without saying that  reducing the food remains will in turn reduce the probability of the tonsil stones forming.
  • Gurgle water after every meal: While brushing your teeth is a good way of getting rid of the food remains, some food that has been trapped in the tonsil pockets might prove hard to remove using a toothbrush. Water however has the magical power of reaching places that can prove difficult for a toothbrush.
  • Dissolve the tonsil stones with vinegar: Getting rid of Tonsil stones becomes hard when they grow big. Small ones are easier to cough out. Occasional gurgling with vinegar ensures that they don't grow big as vinegar dissolves calcium which is the main component of the tonsil stones.
  • Nasal irrigation: Mucus is one of the remains broken down by bacteria to form tonsil stones. Nasal irrigation therefore works by preventing the dripping of the mucus into the tonsil pockets.
  • Use bacteria fighting mouth wash: Using a mouthwash kills the bacteria whose activity leaves tonsil stones in their wake. It is therefore one of the easy ways of preventing tonsil stones formation.

How to Get Tonsil Stones Out


Getting tonsil stones out can be a daunting task that needs to be done by someone who knows what they are doing. This is because if it is wrongly done, it can lead to tonsil injury and thus tonsil infection.

There are a few measures that can ensure successful tonsil stone removal. Take a look below
  • Use a q-tip or a cotton swab:  Using a q-tip, a mirror and a flashlight, reach for the tonsil stone and sweep it out of the pocket making sure not to hurt the tonsils. Do this at a sink as the process can cause the gag reflex. Ensure also that you all the stones out as they nomally appear in a cluster.
  • Using an oral irrigator: using an oral irrigator, point the stream at the tonsil stone and blast it out. Make sure to use the minimum settings to avoid hurting the tonsils. The irrigator can also be used to loosen the big tonsil stones before they are swept out using the method discussed above.
  • Gurgling with a salt solution: gurgling with warm salty water after meals not only prevents tonsil stones by removing the food debris, it also dislodges the small tonsil stones that have already started forming
  • Coughing it out: You can take advantage of your throat to squeeze out the tonsil stones. This is done by pretending to swallow hard. This tightening of the throat squeezes the tonsoliths out of their pockets and can then be coughed out.

Bad Breath's Surprising Remedy 

Tonsil stones, garlic and onions, as well as strong smelling foods and drinks are all contributing factors to bad breath also known as halitosis. Bacteria in the mouth also causes the foul smell.

But there are two kinds of bacteria in the mouth; odor causing bacteria and non-odor causing bacteria. The imbalance between the two is what causes the bad breath. This happens when odor causing bacteria becomes more that the non-odor causing ones. A dry mouth contributes to this.

It therefore fllows that drinking lots of water throughout the day keeps the mouth hydrated and tiggers production of saliva which in turn suppresses the odor causing bacteria which in turn eliminates the bad smell.