Do Tonsil Stones Ever Go Away?

Tonsil stones will not go away on their own and can cause a number of problems if left untreated. If your child has tonsil stones, it is important to remove them as soon as possible.

Learn more about tonsil stones, including the causes, how to prevent them, and how to remove them.

Tonsil Stones: Causes and Symptoms

Tonsil stones form in the small pockets or folds of the tonsils. Food, mucus, bacteria, and dead cells can collect in these pockets and harden into small white or yellow stones. They usually form in people who have large tonsils with lots of folds and pockets.

Once your child develops tonsil stones, a number of problems can occur.

Common symptoms of tonsil stones include:

  • Unusually bad breath
  • Sore throat not caused by illness
  • A metallic taste in the mouth
  • Excessive coughing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Ear pain

Tonsil Stones: Prevention and Treatment

The best way to handle tonsil stones is to prevent them from forming in the first place. Like many problems in the mouth, some tonsil stones can be avoided with good dental habits and a change in diet.

Steps you can take to prevent tonsil stones include:

  • Brushing and flossing twice a day—Removing food particles in the teeth and preventing plaque from forming will help keep tonsil stones from forming. 
  • Drinking plenty of water to keep the mouth moist—A dry mouth is bacteria’s favorite place to live and that bacteria can cause tonsil stones. 
  • Gargling with watered-down grapefruit seed extract—Doing this a few times a day will help kill bacteria that can cause tonsil stones. 
  • Treating post-nasal drip with sinus or nasal drops that kill bacteria and reduce mucus—Avoid sinus or nasal drops that contain alcohol, sodium laurel sulfate, and saccharine because these can dry out the mouth. 
  • Brushing or scraping the tongue with a tongue scraper after brushing teeth—This will help cut down on bacteria collecting on the tongue and spreading to the tonsils. 
  • Gargling with salt water after eating—This helps prevent food particles, mucus and bacteria from collecting in the tonsils.
  • Having the tonsils surgically removed—If your child continues to get tonsil stones that will not go away, speak with a dentist about having your child’s tonsils removed.

How to Remove Tonsil Stones

If your child already has tonsil stones, they can be removed by:

  • Gargling with watered-down grapefruit seed extract to help loosen tonsil stones
  • Gently lifting out tonsil stones using a cotton swab or the end of a toothbrush (Be careful not to use anything sharp that can poke the back of the throat.)
  • Having a dentist surgically remove large tonsil stones that can not be removed any other way

Find a Kool Smiles Near You

Your local Kool Smiles dentist is happy to treat your child’s tonsil stones and recommend ways to prevent them from forming. Find a Kool Smiles near you to book your child’s appointment today.

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Sources:

Tonsil Stone Removal: http://tonsilstoneremoval.org

Tonsil Stone Removal: http://tonsilstoneremoval.org/how-to-prevent-tonsil-stones-without-surgery

WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tonsil-stones-tonsilloliths-treatment-and-prevention