Symptoms of Tonsil Stones | Part 7 g. Checklist and Quick Recap A tonsil stone, or tonsillolith, defined, is a piece or a cluster of calcareous matter that forms in the rear of the mouth, in the crevasses (called tonsillar crypts) of the palatine tonsils. This condition, though not known to many people, is quite common and occurs more in adults than children. Tonsil stones are normally white or whitish-yellow in color and have no exact shape and size. Tonsil stones are made up of mucous, debris (food) and dead cells that situate themselves at the back of the throat. Tonsil stones or Tonsilloliths are also called “Calculus of the Tonsils”, which means, “Hard Lumps of the Tonsils.” Tonsil stones, though harmless, can be recurrent. This is common with people who have chronic tonsillitis. To prevent tonsil stones completely, one undergoes a medical procedure called Tonsillectomy. This procedure is different from tonsil stone extraction as it is done under general anesthesia. The process involves removing the tonsil tissues completely, thus making sure that tonsil stone formation is stopped. After the procedure is done though, the patient may experience a difficulty in swallowing for a few days. It is common knowledge that proper and regular hygiene in every part of the body lessens our risks in catching an infection. It does not mean though that one is already safe because bacteria are all around us. But if we practice certain routines in hygiene, we are less prone to these dangers. It is important that we do not miss out on hygiene in our daily routine. We have nothing to lose. In fact, we gain protection from various infections. It is not surprising to know that a tonsil stone sufferer may not be aware that he has one so it is important to be aware of the symptoms. Neck pain is sometimes felt when there is irritation in the throat. This could be caused by the friction between the tonsil stones and the tonsils. The following are some of the known symptoms of tonsil stones:
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White bumps in the throat Metallic taste in mouth Difficulty in swallowing Bad breath Coughing up white debris Swollen tonsils Persistent cough Sore throat Ear pain Lack of energy Choking sensations Water running from the nose when you bend forward Tinnitus and other ear problems Dizziness
There is a very visible reddish swelling at the back of the throat. Discomfort in swallowing is also experienced. One may also cough during these times that may eventually lead to a sore throat. Constant coughing may cause fatigue and chest pain may follow. Halitosis or bad breath occurs when sulfur compounds produced by bacteria resides in the mouth. This also causes the metallic taste one experiences during this time. Pain in the ear can also be felt. This is because the throat is in the same network as the ear and nose and the tonsil stones are formed in the throat. Bad oral hygiene is one of the major causes of tonsil stones but it does not mean that those people with good oral hygiene are spared as there are other causes. Sinus infection or sinusitis can also trigger the formation of tonsil stones. Prolonged cases leaves mucous in the
throat, which is one of the main ingredients of a tonsil stone. Another cause of tonsil stones is smoking, especially if the cigar is without a filter. Food that we eat, whether out or at home, can also produce tonsil stones. Many kinds of bacteria can be present in food so careful sanitation is imperative in food preparation. Food passes down the throat and some little particles inevitably gets left in the walls of the throat. Oral microbes then join these particles and turn them into microorganisms known as biofilm. The biofilm causes bad breath to emit from the mouth. Since tonsil stones form in the throat, and the throat being inside the mouth, we should pay more attention to our oral and dental hygiene. A good oral hygiene gives us a clean and healthy-looking mouth. A regular visit to our dentist should top the list. They will tell us if there is a problem. When the problem concerns the throat then we need go to an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. They specialize in problems and issues regarding these parts of our body. Brushing the teeth twice a day or every after meal and flossing, and using dental products that have fluoride are highly recommended. Engage in a well-balanced diet and refrain from in between snacks. Take a fluoride supplement if water is non-fluoridated. Try to limit the habit of smoking, or better yet, cut it off completely. Again, tonsilloliths are not life-threatening. But why subject ourselves to such discomfort and risk infections if we can prevent them in our own simple ways.