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smelly tonsil stones

smelly tonsil stones

warning: images and videos of tonsil stones may cause discomfort

tonsil basics

pharyngel tonsil in the sinus tubal tonsil at the ear's eustacian tube entry palatine tonsils on each side of the back of the mouth and lingual tonsil behind / below the tongue
location of the tonsils

tonsils are lumps of lymphatic tissue located in the upper digestive tract

they educate the body’s immune system and speed up an immune response in case of infection in the early years of life

tonsils grow from birth to puberty then gradually shrink and are less active by adulthood

photo of a healthy oral cavity
austin peay state university

palatine tonsils are the visible tonsils at each side of the back of the mouth

the pharyngeal (adenoid) tonsil is located on the back wall of the sinus cavity

tubal tonsils are found at the entrance of the eustachian tubes to the ears

the lingual tonsil lies behind / below the tongue

palatine and lingual tonsils have crevices or crypts which traps substances that pass by

these crypts help the immune system to identify germs early and build antibodies quickly

the adenoid tonsil has folds which work in the same way as crypts

tubal tonsils are covered by a membrane and don’t typically collect substances

adult tonsils and their crypts and folds come in different shapes and sizes

tonsil stones are a foul smelling buildup of solid white, brown or green substance in tonsil crypts

they are caused by a combination of diet, lifestyle, health and tonsil anatomy

tonsil stones

white tonsil stone visible in the right palatine tonsil

tonsilloliths are another name for tonsil stones

they are most commonly found in the palatine tonsils, located on each side of the back of the mouth

however stones can also less commonly form in lingual tonsil crypts and adenoid tonsil folds

the size of tonsil stones range from tiny pinheads to thumb-sized behemoths and colors vary from white to shades of brown and green

the substance is made up of food debris, proteins, bacteria and mineral deposits

tonsil stones always smell horrific with a high sulfur and mercaptan content

the odor will often resemble the putrefied protein of the sufferers diet

for example a beef eaters tonsil stones might include a rotting beef odor

while a dairy consumers tonsil stones might carry an overtone of very soured milk

a small white patch on left tonsil looks like a pimple but is a tonsil stone
visible tonsil stone right side

diagnosing and removing tonsil stones

diagnosing palatine tonsil stones can often be done by inspecting and prodding tonsils with a strong light and thin long blunt sterile tool

an LED tonsil stone pick, commonly marketed as an ear pick, is an ideal tool to perform this

radiography (xray) can occasionally (less than a third of cases) identify tonsil stones

however computer topography (CT) scan is the most reliable method for tonsil stone diagnosis

palatine tonsil stones can most often be removed by physically coaxing and flushing them from the tonsil crypts

adenoid tonsil stones (adenoliths) can only be diagnosed by CT scan and would need to be removed by an ear nose and throat (ENT) specialist

(A) Preoperative view of the hypertrophic adenoid tissue through the left choana, septum to the left; (B) Unroofing of the hypertrophic adenoid tissue reveals a bright green stone; (C) Multiple stones were removed (scale bar 4mm)
bright green tonsil stones removed from the adenoid tonsil

lingual tonsil stones would also need to be diagnosed by CT scan

but massage and activating nearby muscles can help to loosen and dislodge some lingual stones

camera identification of lingual tonsil stones
lingual tonsil stones

the tubal tonsils are covered by a membrane and are not prone to tonsil stones

removing tonsil stones yourself

large beige tonsil stone being pushed ou of the left palatine tonsil with a cotton bud
cotton bud tonsil stone removal

tonsils are sensitive and can be very ticklish

they are also in a position that can cause a gag reflex when prodded

otherwise removing tonsil stones yourself is safe and reasonably simple

it is important to sterilize the mouth and tools before, during and after the process

this will help to prevent infection and decreases the likelihood of new tonsil stones forming

videos of at-home tonsil stone extractions

tonsil stone man has generously filmed himself picking out his tonsil stones

rudey p also helped out with some of his own tonsil stone removals before he eventually got his actual tonsils taken out

tonsil stone removal by a specialist

many ear nose and throat (ENT) specialists are surprisingly unfamiliar with tonsil and salivary stones

I’ve had quite a few clients present with bad breath and even body odor caused by tonsil stones

one of them had no other tonsil stone symptoms while others had post nasal drip, sore throat, swollen glands and other symptoms

a few clients had been to ENT specialists and come away with a sinus flush, tongue scraper, dental floss and/or antibiotics

unsurprisingly none of these helped

however not all ENT’s are ignorant of tonsil stones and a few have shared some GIANT tonsil stone extractions

videos of ENT tonsil stone extractions

do I need to remove my tonsil stones?

tonsil stones should definitely be removed if possible

they can be full of bacteria and can cause infection, post nasal drip and may even contribute to SIBO, reflux and other gastric disorders

if left in place tonsil stones can keep growing in size and cause permanent stretching of crypts and folds

large crypts are more likely to accumulate debris and form new tonsil stones in the future

should I remove my tonsils?

surgical tonsil removal is a traumatic and painful procedure

removing tonsils doesn’t necessarily prevent tonsil stones forming again in the future

this tonsils and their crypts can sometimes grow back

laser or coblation cryptolysis is another possible procedure

tonsil crypts are sealed during cryptolysis to prevent substances entering and stones forming

however it is critical the crypts are thoroughly sterilized before sealing to avoid potentially trapping a very smelly problem

salivary stones are another source of bad breath and body odor but that is a topic for another day

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