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What are tonsil stones and how to prevent them

You’ve probably heard of kidney stones or gallstones, but have you ever heard of tonsil stones? Your tonsils are made up of tissue in the back of your mouth that contain lymph nodes and help to filter out viruses and bacteria. Tonsil stones are a build-up of all that crosses through your mouth. 

What are tonsil stones?

Tonsil stones, or tonsilloliths, are small, hard calcium deposits made up of food cells, bacteria, and mucus in the mouth. Often they are swallowed, however, they can get caught in the small nooks and crannies of your tonsils. 

Symptoms of tonsil stones

The most obvious symptoms of tonsils stones are: 

  • Bad breath that doesn’t get better – a sign of tonsil infection
  • Irritated throat and cough – the position and/or size of a tonsil stone may cause irritation in your throat causing you to cough for no apparent reason
  • Swelling and sore throat – aside from irritation that causes a cough, you might experience soreness and swelling in your throat where your tonsils are
  • White debris – you might actually be able to see the tonsil stones in the back of your throat as small white dots in the soft tissue of your tonsils

How to prevent tonsil stones

The best way to prevent tonsil stones is to keep up with your home oral health care. Flossing and brushing twice a day will help to keep your mouth free of excess food particles and bacteria. Your dentist may also suggest gargling with salt water to help keep your throat and tonsils clean. 

If you think you might have tonsil stones, book an appointment with your dentist here: 

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