Most people are familiar with what causes bad breath, such as halitosis, gingivitis, dry mouth, and poor oral hygiene. But, there’s another cause, one that people rarely talk about, because it’s not popular, and people don’t generally know what it’s called. It is those little, white, smelly curds that come from the tonsils.
Some people cough them up when they’re dislodged from the tonsils. But, what are they called and where do they come from?
There’s a name for those foul-smelling, white formations. They are called: tonsilloliths, or tonsil stones.
Tonsilloliths are a nuisance. They can cause bad breath and just plain annoyance. They do not form in everyone’s tonsils, only certain people. The people who have them are all too familiar with the irritation.
According to an article by Dr. Harold Katz, founder of California Breath Clinics, tonsil stones come from a build-up of bacteria and debris in the crypts of the tonsils.
They can also be made up of calcium salts, food particles, dead cells, and post-nasal drip. Both children and adults can get them.
Why do some people get them, while others do not? Well, just because some people get them, does not mean that those people have to worry about a contributing health problem. One explanation can be found on doctorhoffman.com. Dr. Douglass Hoffman explains that every day, the tonsils shed oral mucosa, which lines the crypts of the tonsils. Normally, the dead cells are shed and swallowed. But, in some people, the dead cells stick around and accumulate, causing the little white balls to form in the crypts. This is what the odor-causing bacteria in the mouth like to feed on, hence the foul smell associated with it.
Tonsil stones can grow to become a rather large size, depending on the individual. Some tonsil stones can become yellow or gray in color and cause tonsillitis, according to an article by Dr. Alan Greene, found on the drgreene.com website. People were even known to get their tonsils removed because of the frequent occurrence of tonsil stones as a prevention method. This was before people understood them.
There are some effective treatments for reducing the occurrence of tonsil stones. Removing ones tonsils is an obvious solution, however, it does not have to come to that. Try gargling with salt water, or non-alcohol mouthwash. A water pick is a useful tool for clearing the tonsil crypts. It’s a simple device that emits powerful pulses of water that can clean crevices. Also, frequently clean the tongue to remove debris and bacteria. Another way to safely remove tonsil stones is by using a cotton swab or toothbrush.