Tonsil Stone Removal Guide

What are Tonsil Stones?

Tonsil stones or tonsillolith is a condition where solid particles form and embed themselves in the pockets and creases of the tonsils. 

What are Tonsil Stones Symptoms?

The problem with tonsil stones is that they can produce embarrassing and painful symptoms like

  • Bad breath
  • Earache
  • Tonsil swelling
  • Infection.

How to get rid of tonsil stones? Best Tonsil Stone Treatments

There are several treatment protocols for tonsil stones, right from home remedies to medical procedures. Depending on the severity of the symptoms that tonsil stones cause, you can opt for one of the following Tonsil Stone Treatments.

If you have severe symptoms, you should not waste time getting treated by a qualified ENT specialist.
Always remember that timely treatment is very important, so make sure you consult the specialist timely to prevent the complications and suffering in the future. You can also go for natural ways to treat the problem as there are many natural remedies available to treat the problem completely.

Nowadays, we can find so many ways of removing tonsil stones:

  1. Tonsil Stones Drugs & Medicine
  2. Tonsil Stones Surgery
  3. Tonsil Stones Natural Home Medicines Remedy
  4. Use an Oral Irrigator
  5. No Treatment Option

1. Drugs for Tonsil Stones

Antibiotics for tonsil stones

Use Antibiotics for tonsil stones treatment
Use Antibiotics for tonsil stones treatment

Sometimes, the ENT specialist may prescribe antibiotics to treat the Tonsil Stones infection. Usually, this mode of treatment gets rid of bacteria, which healthcare professionals believe have a major role in the formation and growth of tonsil stones.

Visit your local doctor or ENT specialist (ENT-Ear, Nose, and Throat).
These medications only provide temporary relief. The tonsil stones almost always return since the body builds up a resistance to the drugs and eventually they do not work. The doctors usually Antibiotics for a short period of time. Many times, antibiotics are very effective in a short period. The problem is you have to keep on taking them and prevent tonsillitis comes back and the price of medication is not cheap.

Antihistamines for Tonsil Stones

Antihistamines often reduce the problems that are associated with mucus building up in the throat. They also help to eliminate the swelling that can result from tonsil stones, however, antihistamines do not eliminate tonsil stones altogether.

2. Tonsil Stones Surgery

In some of the worst cases, if the tonsils exceed the limited range size then it may become necessary for the doctor to remove the tonsils by following surgical methods. The most popular Surgical methods for Tonsil Stones:

  • Tonsillectomy for tonsil stones
  • Laser Tonsil Cryptolysis
  • Coblation Cryptolysis

Tonsillectomy for tonsil stones

Tonsillectomy tonsil stones
Tonsillectomy for serious tonsil stones issue

Many sufferers are so troubled by these symptoms that they consider the radical step of having their tonsils removed in a procedure called a Tonsillectomy.

Once a common operation, especially amongst children in the 1950s and 1960s, tonsillectomies in the United States have fallen to about 600,000 per year, down from several million per year in the operation’s heyday. As the number of tonsillectomies has decreased, the number of people who suffer from tonsilloliths has risen.

While a tonsillectomy may very well bring relief, the operation is almost universally considered to be an unnecessary and radical solution to this oral hygiene problem. This is especially true for adults, who have a higher risk of complications resulting from a tonsillectomy.

Since people with chronic tonsillitis often get tonsil stones, it may be prudent to opt for tonsillectomy.

When all other treatment procedures fail to get rid of the severe symptoms that you are experiencing, the ENT specialist will have no other alternative but to surgically remove your tonsils.

A general anaesthetic is used for a tonsillectomy and it is a very common procedure, especially among children. Performing a tonsillectomy on adults comes with more of a risk, which is why powerful antibiotics are sometimes prescribed as an alternative. This removal can be done with the help of a scalpel or laser. Sometimes, even a coblation medical device can be used.

The surgical removal of the tonsils does not leave any scope for the formation of tonsil stones. To be honest, tonsillectomy is quite drastic and the stones can still occur again even if you have had the tonsils removed. Consult your doctor to find out whether you are a good candidate for a tonsillectomy.

 Fortunately, surgery is rarely if ever necessary and treating tonsil stones 

Laser Tonsil Cryptolysis:

This is a noninvasive laser treatment that gets rid of the pockets and crevices where the tonsil stones are lodged. You needn’t worry as it causes minimal pain. Anyway, the doctor will use local anaesthesia to ensure you enjoy a pain-free treatment session.

The downtime after the treatment is minimal.

Coblation Cryptolysis:

In this medical procedure, the ENT uses radio waves to change a simple salt solution into charged ions, which adhere to the tonsil tissue and then cut through it. This procedure reduces crevices and pockets on the tonsils and also eliminates tonsil stones.

Compared to laser tonsil cryptolysis, coblation cryptolysis does not cause a burning sensation on the tonsils.

3. Natural Tonsil Stones Removal at home

Natural Tonsil Stones Guide
Natural Tonsil Stones Guide

Lets explore the most common  tonsil stones home remedies 

  • Improve Personal Hygiene Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before eating and avoid kissing anyone with tonsillitis. This is especially true if you too are prone to tonsillitis. It will minimize the chances of contracting an infection, which can lead to the development of tonsil stones.
  • Salt-Water Gargles For Tonsil Stones When the size of Tonsil Stones are small and detected early then its growth can be apprehended by performing Salt-water Gargles everyday which also eases the discomfort caused by Tonsils. Prepare a solution of water and salt in the ratio 1:1 and gargle it. Gargling your mouth with salt water would disinfect your mouth and help remove bacteria that could cause Tonsil Stones. Do this a few times every day.
  • Use Tongue scraper to remove Bateria Using a tongue scraper to remove the active bacteria that keep building at the back of your tongue every time you brush your teeth. It’s recommended to do this activity every night before you go to bed.
    Cleaning tongue as this prevents bacteria from entering into your body.
  • Better oral hygiene Bacterial growth is one of the main causes of tonsil stones.

    As tonsil stones form due to the accumulation of food particles, bacteria, and dead skin cells, it is important you maintain good oral hygiene.  Keeping your mouth clean can help keep the bacteria levels in your mouth under control.  You can do this by flossing and brushing regularly to keep the mouth, teeth and tongue clean.  Regular gargling helps keep the throat and the tonsils clean and free from debris.Brush your teeth and tongue at least 2 times a day.

    Also, rinse your mouth thoroughly with an oral mouthwash rinse at least once a day.
  • Drink as much water as you can. Leftover food can serve as a breeding ground for bacterial growth.  Remember to drink lots of water especially after meals.  Water helps wash out all the leftover food in your mouth and helps keep it clean in between brushing.
    Increasing your water intake is a great way to prevent the development of Tonsil Stones and will keep your mouth dehydrated.
    Drinks like soda are known to contribute to the development of Tonsil Stones. So, better avoid them.
  • Try to stop junk food, smoking and drinking alcohol Drinks with alcohol in it can leave your mouth dry, which isn’t good if you often experience Tonsil Stones.
    Smoking won’t help your situation either. Smoking causes build up of plaque and tartar on your teeth. These are nothing but oral bacteria, which can migrate from your teeth to your tonsils. Once this happens, it increases the chances of tonsil stones.
    Avoiding consuming junk food and soft drinks if in case you are having a problem with tonsils.
  • Cut back on sugary beverages. Sugar makes your mouth acidic, which makes it more hospitable for more types of bacteria.  Try to cut back on sugary drinks as much as possible.  Drink water instead or sugar-free drinks like fresh fruit juice or tea.
  • Avoid dairy products from your daily diet.
    Dairy products promote the accumulation of calcium and mucus, which are known as tonsilloliths causes.
  • Strengthen your immune system. Too much mucus can also cause tonsil stones.  Overproduction of mucus is often due to upper respiratory tract infections like colds, cough, and sinusitis.  Control the production of mucus by strengthening your immune system.  You can do that by increasing your intake of antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E and zinc.  Regular exercise and stress reduction can also help improve your immune system.

4. Use an Oral Irrigator For Tonsil Stones Removal

You can purchase an oral irrigator, such as a water-pick, and use it for tonsil stones removal, as well as remove lacerations caused by the removal of wisdom teeth. If you have tonsil stones and want to get rid of them because they are causing you pain or discomfort, you will definitely want to consider trying out this method. You can use regular oral irrigators for tonsil stones removal, but you will want to exercise caution when doing so. Since you can injure your tonsil if you set the irrigator on too strong of a setting, it is important that you are careful when doing this.

Step to Removing Tonsil Stones via Oral Irrigator:

  • Simply open your mouth and place the irrigator inside but not actually touching the stone. Switch on the oral irrigator to the lowest possible setting. Try to direct the stream of water on the stone while keeping it as steady as you can until the stone is loosened and comes out.
  • Aim the irrigator at different stones gently but steadily so that you are able to get them out. If the irrigator is not able to dislodge the stones, you can try using a sterilized bobby-pin or Q-Tip and gentle hook or scrape the stones from the tonsil wall. If you use a bobby pin, it is very important that you use extreme caution so as not to cut your tonsil.
  • Keep repeating the above steps until the visible tonsil stones have all been removed. Keep in mind that it will be very important that you are gentle when using the oral irrigator.

Oral irrigators like the Waterpik can be very effective when it comes to tonsil stones removal, even though that is not their intended purpose. You can purchase these oral water irrigators online or in the store, but it is highly recommended that you look for a good one with numerous intensity settings.

Also, remember to use the lowest possible setting on your oral irrigator so you can avoid doing harm to your tonsils in the process of trying to carry out the tonsil stones removal

5. No Treatment Method for Tonsil Stone Removal

Tonsil stones treatment is not always necessary, as they are either coughed up or dissolve on their own

If the size of Tonsil Stones is too small then it advisable to not to perform any special treatment while take some necessary precautions to avoid its further growth.

If they are causing you no problems then they are best left alone- they don’t really require treatment.

Tonsil Stones Treatment Summary

What are the best methods to remove tonsil stones?

Tonsil Stones Drugs & Medicine
Tonsil Stones Surgery
Tonsil Stones Natural Home Medicines Remedy
Use an Oral Irrigator (water-pik)
No Treatment Option

When should you go for NO Treatment for Tonsil Stones?

1. Tonsil Stones Bleeding 
2. Tonsil Stones Gagging
3. Tonsil Stones Stuck
4. Broken Tonsil Stones And Formed A Sharp One

Dr Jay Sidhu
I am a practising Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor based in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. I have a special interest in working with Tonsil Stones Patients and providing Tonsil Stones Treatments online and within our clinic. Message me for any questions on Tonsil Stones. Dr Jay Sidhu

1 Comment

  1. Hello Doctor

    As a child, I had such large tonsils that doctors would often call their colleagues over to take a look! But I never had any problems with them except for frequently finding tonsilliliths (always very small ones) starting in my teen years. An ENT doctor at the time said no treatment was needed but that I could routinely “pop” them out from the small opening and thereby alleviate breath problems for a while. So that is what I would always do but they would sometimes SEEM as if they came up from my throat after I had just expectorated or “hacked up” in the course of daily oral hygiene. Anyway, the overall tonsillilith issue would come and go various times over the decades that followed. I am now 67, and have had them, yet again, for the last few years, at least.

    But a couple of years ago, a friend in his late 30’s confided he had the same problem and had his tonsils ablated (perhaps he said coblated”?) although there were no other issues noticed (no pain or infection). So I am wondering if some moderate treatment may be a good option for me as well. I am in good health overall, and practice good oral hygiene, including floss, gum picks, and nightly tongue scraping. Even if you’re not in a position to suggest my best course of action with any certainty, would you have any idea why tonsilliliths have only come from my left tonsil and not my right (with only a very few exceptions many years ago)? And if one tonsil can easily have a very different profile than the other, is it often that one gets treated but the other gets left alone to fully retain whatever value it still offers the body?

    Thanks for any clarity you can provide.

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