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A 42-year-old female asked:

what are tonsil stones?

4 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. David Kam
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 36 years experience
Tonsilliths: They are bacterial colonies that form in tonsillar crypts. A common bacteria is actinomyces. It can give you a foreign body sensation in throat and halitosis.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Tonsil stones: Tonsil stone - tonsilloliths - collection of bacterial & cellular debris in tonsillar crypts,
Dr. Nicole Frommann
Urgent Care 22 years experience
Gargle: Initially you can try gargling with warm salt water and/or mouth wash. If that doesn't help then try taking a long moist swab and manually remove them (like a long q-tip). If you still can't remove them then a doctor can do it for you.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
Remove them: Get a penlight and a mirror and half-unbend a paper clip. You'll get good at it. A 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 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.
Lexington, KY
A 21-year-old female asked:

Can tonsil stones be harmful?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Danny Proffitt
Family Medicine 43 years experience
No! Offensive? Yes!: Tonsil stones are offensive due to odor. They may cause discomfort and possibly and infection could result from them. Mostly it is odor and cosmetic.
A 43-year-old member asked:

What can dissolve tonsil stones?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ryan Phasouk
Family Medicine 18 years experience
No need: It is unnecessary to treat tonsil stones as they generally are not related to any health consequences.
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.

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Last updated Oct 24, 2017

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