When many people think of “stones” in the body, the first reaction is to think of kidney or gall bladder stones. Tonsil stones, or to be more medically accurate they are known as tonsilloliths, are deposits of calcium and other minerals that form on or inside of the tonsils. “Calculus of the tonsils” is another phrase that is often associated with tonsil stones. These calcium-rich deposits are often white or yellow in color and develop over the course of days and weeks. Tonsilloliths often contain more than just calcium. These other ingredients include small food particles, cells that have died, bacteria, and fungus. If left untreated these hardened calcium formations can and will often continue to grow with each day.
Tonsil stones are often directly responsible for causing halitosis, or more commonly known as bad breath. They very rarely cause any more serious medical issue unless the stone is left untreated and grows larger. A large enough tonsil stone can cause difficulty in swallowing and inflammation of the tonsils. The larger they are allowed to grow, the more difficult the tonsil stones are to treat and remove. A better option for tonsil stones is to prevent them from forming.
Common Signs and Symptoms
Visible signs of tonsil stones are easy to recognize once the calcified formations on the tonsils grow larger. The formations are easily visible on the tonsils and may look like white spots on the tonsils in the infant stages of growth.
Symptoms can include a range of issues, but some of the most common include:
Halitosis – As mentioned above, halitosis is just a medical term for bad breath. This symptom usually becomes worse as the tonsil stones grow in size. While not a medical emergency, this is an embarrassing symptom and can be difficult to overcome. Usual remedies like brushing teeth, using mouthwash, and chewing gum might slightly help improve the bad breath for a short time
Problems Swallowing –as tonsil stones grow in size, they can become large enough to obstruct the pathway of food from being swallowed into the throat.
Ear Pains and Itching of the Ear – Another less common observable sign of tonsils stones is itching of your ears or constant earaches. This is directly related because tonsil stones can cause inflammations at the back of your throat, which is physiologically connected to the inner parts of your ears.
Other less noticeable symptoms of tonsil stones might include coughing (sometimes coughing up small debris), pain in the neck, and issues related to swallowing that might include feelings of choking. These symptoms will become more noticeable and prominent as the calcium deposits grow and become more visible in the back of the throat.
If you have struggled with calcium stones in the past or currently experiencing these symptoms, preventing further outbreaks is the key to fighting this disease.