Tonsil Stones


I just had a patient come to my dental office for a cleaning. She asked me if I knew anything about tonsil stones. I had seen what they look like: it looks the same as the tartar (calculus) that you get on your teeth, and probably has a similar composition. But just like plaque and tartar, these cause bad breath.

Many, many years ago I had a dental hygienist who worked for me and had this problem. Even worse, she was chronically sick from this condition. She was told to have her tonsils removed, and she had a very long and difficult recovery from her tonsillectomy. At least she didn’t get sick from this condition after the procedure.

Part of the desired treatment is how to get rid of them now. One way is to pinch them out using a cotton swab with good lighting. These can be quite large! There is a video on you tube showing how this is done. There are also some books on a natural approach to removing the stones.

It’s also desirable to find a way to discontinue getting them. Included in the recommendations: routine dental care, use of a tongue scraper, gargling with warm salt water several times daily, drink more water and avoid drinking alcohol or drinks with sugar, and not smoking.

If you look for “tonsil stones” in a medical dictionary, you should look for “tonsilloliths.”