Bad Breath and Tonsil Stones
Your tonsils are a part of your body’s immune and lymphatic system, fighting infection and helping to keep you healthy. They are designed to catch bacteria before entering the body and causing infections. Tonsil stones, also known as tonsilloliths, are hard masses which can form inside the small folds of the tonsils.
What are Tonsil Stones?
While usually harmless, tonsil stones are created when the tonsils trap bacteria and other toxins which can cause illness. Your tonsils contain lymphocytes, cells in the body which are designed to prevent infection. The tonsils have many folds and crevices on their surface, making it easy for bacteria and debris to become trapped on their surface. When this happens and these particles harden, tonsil stones may form.
What Kind of Negative Effects Do They Cause?
Most tonsil stones are undetectable and produce no noticeable symptoms. Others, however, can be quite troublesome and cause a variety of symptoms including:
- Bad breath
- Sore throat
- White debris on the tonsils
- Trouble swallowing
- Ear pain
- Swollen tonsils
At-Home Techniques for Cleaning Tonsils
Tonsil stones can frequently be removed by a variety of home remedies.
- Using a water-pick or low-pressure irrigator, you can gently spray water on the tonsils to dislodge stones and rinse them away. Using a mirror as your guide, carefully aim the water toward the tonsil stones. This method of removal should be avoided in young children who may be more susceptible to choking.
- Gently swishing or gargling with non-alcoholic mouthwash may also loosen tonsil stones, as well as rid the mouth of bacteria which contribute to their formation.
- Gargling with warm salt water may also be beneficial. Mix one teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm water and gently gargle for 10-15 seconds at a time. This may also help to soothe a sore, scratchy throat.
- Gargling with a diluted apple cider vinegar solution may also help to dissolve and dislodge tonsil stones. Mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with a cup of warm water and gently gargle using the same method mentioned above. It is important that you brush your teeth following this method of treatment, as the acid in apple cider vinegar can erode the enamel of your teeth.
- Cotton swabs have been used to remove tonsil stones, but this is tricky and not recommended.
- It is also possible to remove tonsil stones with the assistance of your toothbrush. As with cotton swabs, this method should only be attempted carefully and should never be used on children. Using a mirror as your guide, you may use the non-bristled end of your toothbrush to try to loosen tonsil stones from their current resting place.
Hardin Advanced Dentistry
If you or your child is suffering from bad breath and are seeking help, contact us at Hardin Advanced Dentistry today so we can set your mind at ease.