Tonsil stones are small clusters of calcified material that gather in the folds and crevices of the tonsil. And though they are generally not harmful to one's health, they can cause discomfort, mild pain and bad breath. If you are currently plagued by this problem, and wondering how to get rid of tonsil stones, here are some different ideas:
Home Methods for Removing Tonsil Stones
1 - You may not know this, but your tongue can be very effective at getting rid of tonsil stones. Use your tongue to press on different areas on your tonsils, and try to break up the stones, or knock them loose. Swallowing while doing this may also help to loosen stones, and to aid in swallowing you can drink water. The tongue method can sometimes take a little time, and you should try it for at least 5 - 10 minutes.
2 - Your finger is another great tool for removing tonsil stones. Make sure to wash your hands with warm water and soap first, and rinse them thoroughly. Next, open your mouth, and insert a finger. Find your tonsils, and apply pressure while pushing up slightly so you can pop the stones loose. When you're done, rinse out your mouth with water. If you prefer not to use your finger, a cotton swab or Q-Tip may also work. Remember, be gentle. If the stones aren't coming lose, and this method is causing pain, don't cause additional harm by pushing too hard.
3 - By gargling with either salt water or carbonated water, you can often cause tonsil stones to come loose. In addition, another useful water method for loosening tonsil stones is using a water pick. With careful targeting, you can often blast stones free.
4 - Find a soft toothbrush, so you don't further irritate your tonsils, and gently massage your tonsils. This can loosen tonsil stones to the point that they can be cleared out with a good rinsing of your mouth.
Medical Methods for Removing Tonsil Stones
1 - Tonsil stones are caused by bacteria building up on your tonsils, and the right antibiotics may help kill those bacteria and get rid of the stones. Visit your doctor for an examination, and the proper antibiotic prescription. Generally, you should only use an antibiotic approach if you tonsils are infected.
2 - If your tonsil stones are especially large and painful, and not coming out with other methods, you may consider having them surgically removed. This is generally a light procedure, consisting of the doctor numbing your mouth and scraping or extracting the stones.
3 - In extreme cases, when the stones keep coming back and painful, you might consider a tonsillectomy. This will prevent you from ever getting stones in the future, but is something you should consider only in extreme cases.
Prevention of Tonsil Stones
Even if you read up on how to get rid of tonsil stones, and are successful, you need to develop good oral hygiene habits to keep them from coming back. Brush, floss and use mouthwash every day, and don't go to bed without brushing. Food waste left in your mouth overnight is a breeding ground for bacteria. If you breathe through your mouth, start practicing breathing through your nose. If you sleep with your mouth open at night, consider using nose strips to help you breathe through your nose. This will keep your mouth from drying out, which is important as a dry mouth spreads more bacteria. With good hygiene habits, you may never have to worry about tonsil stones again.