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A 39-year-old member asked:

are tonsil stones serious?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Magalie Nelson
Pediatric ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 21 years experience
tonsil stones: The tonsils have multiple holes that can can get filled with bacteria, mucus and food debris. Overtime the debris can harden and form the so called tonsil stones. They are not serious but they can cause throat discomfort and bad breath.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
Trivial: They're actually mostly made of keratin. There's a lot of misinformation about them. They can be smelly and uncomfortable. They're easy to remove if you've got steady hands. Get a penlight and a mirror and half-unbend a paper clip. You'll get good at it. Infection/injury risk is minor. Water pick is even better. If it's truly a nuisance, a otolaryngologist can laser-resurface your tonsils.

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A 52-year-old member asked:

How are tonsil stones started?

2 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Patrick Melder
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 27 years experience
Cryptic tonsils: The first thing that starts are tonsils that have deep pockets or crypts. Food, debris, and bacteria get trapped in the crypts and form the "tonsil stones.".
CA
A 34-year-old member asked:

How can tonsil stones be recognized?

2 doctor answers12 doctors weighed in
Dr. Russell Faust
Dr. Russell Faustanswered
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 29 years experience
Just look: With the right light and a goo mirror, tonsil "stones" can be seen by opening your mouth and looking in the mirror. They are usually whitish nodules that fill little pits - "crypts" - in the surface of the tonsil.
CA
A 40-year-old member asked:

What can cause tonsil stones?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mike Bowman
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 19 years experience
Eating: Tonsil stones (i.e. Tonsilliths) are collections of food and debris which get trapped in the tonsils. This material gets infected usually becomes foul smelling. Some tonsils have more nooks and crannies in which to collect this debris, which makes the stones larger and/or more numerous. If removed, tonsilliths usually will recur. If severe, tonsillectomy will cure the problem. Best wishes.
A 52-year-old member asked:

What herbs cure tonsil stones?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mike Bowman
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 19 years experience
None really: It is not a medical problem, more of a physical one. Medications, herbs, mouthwashes generally don't help. If the tonsils have the deep crypts which trap food debris, tonsil stones will form. They can be removed cleaned out, but usually recur. If tonsil stones are a severe and chronic problem, tonsillectomy will cure the issues. See your local ent. Best wishes.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
You may be able to remove them using a penlight, a mirror, and a half-unbent paper clip. They'll re-form. An ENT doctor may be able to resurface your tonsils using a laser.
Jul 7, 2015
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
A water pick works even better if you have one.
Jul 7, 2015
A 40-year-old member asked:

What is the cure for tonsil stones?

5 doctor answers13 doctors weighed in
Dr. Russell Faust
Dr. Russell Faustanswered
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 29 years experience
None that I know of,: ... But, taking a daily probiotic preparation has been demonstrated to benefit the immune system, and to reduce upper respiratory infections (uri's) - reduced frequency, duration, and severity - in randomized prospective clinical trials. Probiotics have also been found to reduce ear infections in children. I recommend them for my patients with tonsil stones, and tonsillitis, with great benefit.

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Last updated Mar 8, 2018

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