Tonsilloliths also referred to as tonsil stones are small clusters of calcified materials formed at the surfaces of the tonsils. Usually, they are formed by the accumulation of debris and sulfur producing bacteria which become lodged in the tonsils. The tonsil stones are formed in the crevices of the tonsils and mostly occur in the palatine tonsils but may also occur at the lingual tonsils. They compose of calcium with other mineral elements such as phosphorus magnesium, Ammonia and carbonate elements.
Accumulation of food materials, post nasal drip mucus and the sulfur-producing bacteria are in the tonsils crypts; small pockets on the tonsil surfaces catalyses formation of tonsil stones. Once the materials have accumulated the sulfur-producing bacteria feeds up on them and digests them to produce a foul smelling gunk. The tonsil stones may be difficult to pull out and may vary in sizes (tonsilstonesadvisor.com).
Tonsilloliths does not produce any symptoms. It is however associated with bad breath or may at times result in pain during swallowing. Moreover, one may have some metallic taste, coughing fits, choking and throat closing in extreme cases where the stone are extremely large.
However, they are not common in people whose tonsils have been removed as well as those with deep tonsil craters. Moreover, the problem is more common in adults as it is in children. The biggest problem of the tonsil stones is chronic or severe bad breath which may lead to total discomfort.
The discomfort and bad feeling that is created by the tonsil stones necessitates the removal. There are several useful methods that may be used in getting rid of them. Oxygenation is a critical elimination method in treating tonsilloliths. The debris and the bacteria are destroyed by subjecting them to sufficient oxygen levels which reduces the bacteria action implying that the formation of the stones is halted. Using oxygenating toothpaste or mouthwash may be a necessary treatment without any need for surgery. Oxygenating toothpaste entirely neutralizes the anaerobic bacteria thereby eliminating the problem.
Medical intervention is another treatment method. This may be necessary in cases where the problem is persistent or severe. Certain antibiotics such as penicillin or erythromycin may be prescribed to address the problem. Laser treatment /resurfacing may also be used in cases where the drugs may not be suitable based on the fact that most of the antibiotics may end up killing beneficial bacteria in the mouth. Laser essentially surfaces out tonsil surfaces such that there are no crates and pockets thereby eliminating the surfaces on which the tonsil stones are formed.
Tonsillectomy is yet another treatment method for the tonsil stones. This is a surgical procedure that entails the entire removal of the tonsils. By removing the tonsils completely, it implies that the risk is entirely eliminated.
Despite the medical options available, oral hygiene is the ultimate solution. This is done by ensuring that there is through cleaning of the mouth to eliminate all the debris lodged in the mouth at all time and ensure that the bacteria is not activated to begin the decomposition. Using oxygenating mouth cleaning elements offers a clear solution from the problem.