Treating Tonsil Stones

My daughter has very large tonsils with deep crevices. She has large numbers of small, hard lumps that she scrapes out. Her doctor said they were food particles that had gotten stuck. I find this hard to believe. Could there be other reasons for the lumps?
Alice Bradford – Carrollton, Texas

Padriatric docotr looking into the mouth of school girl, treating tonsil stones.

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

The tonsils are sentinels, standing guard at the back of the throat to protect the delicate tissues of our lungs and intestines from foreign invaders. They are part of a ring of defenders, Waldeyer’s Ring (which includes the tonsils, adenoids, and other lymphoid tissue), encircling the back of the throat as an important line of defense. The tonsils and adenoids are largest during childhood; they are front-line guardians while the body’s more sophisticated internal immune system learns and develops.

The situation you describe, Alice, is a very common one. The tonsils usually appear like small, dimpled golf balls set on either side of the back of the throat. Children with large tonsils and deep crypts often do get food particles trapped in there. Because saliva contains digestive enzymes, trapped food begins to break down. Particularly, the starch or carbohydrate part of the food melts away, leaving firmer, harder remains of food in the tonsils. This does not look like the food that went into the mouth.

Treating tonsil stones. A.D.A.M. Illustration.

As you suspect, however, there is more to these hard lumps than just food. The tonsils also trap other mouth debris such as bacteria and old cells from the surface of the mouth’s lining. Some of these cells contain small amounts of keratin, the same substance found in fingernails and rhinoceros horns. Whatever the nature of the debris, it is then attacked by white blood cells. The aftermath of this battle leaves the crevices of the tonsil strewn with hardened remains.

Most people swallow this material without ever noticing it, while it is still tiny. In those whose tonsils are large, however, the particles can lodge in the deep crypts, where they continue to grow. The enlarging lumps are called calculi of the tonsil, or tonsilloliths (tonsil stones). These stones are most common during adolescence.

Microscopic studies of these tonsilloliths have shown them to contain a combination of food particles, bacteria, oral debris, and white blood cells in a concentrically laminated pattern — rather like a pearl. Usually they are small gritty particles found in the center of soft, cheesy flecks. Sometimes, however, they become quite large, appearing as rough, yellow or gray, round stones. At times they reach an extraordinary size. Affected people usually have a history of repeated attacks of tonsillitis in earlier years.

Most people with calculi of the tonsils have no associated symptoms. In that case nothing need be done, except perhaps for brushing or scraping them out, as your daughter does. Gargling, refraining from eating during the 30 minutes before falling asleep, and careful oral hygiene may help minimize their formation.

For some people, however, the calculi can be quite bothersome, causing a constant foreign-body sensation, a chronic low-grade sore throat, recurrent episodes of tonsillitis persisting beyond childhood, or chronic bad breath.

Treating tonsil stones almost never requires surgery, but when needed, treatment consists of either removing the tonsils or removing the calculi. Troublesome large calculi that are not easily dislodged may need an ear, nose, and throat doctor to remove them.

Not too long ago, tonsils were routinely removed for the sole crime of being swollen and inflamed. We didn’t understand, then, that the tonsils purposely accept the infections to prevent the organisms from traveling deeper, and to show the invaders to the developing immune system to train it for the future. The tonsils are selfless protectors. As a child becomes an adult, the tonsils usually begin to shrink; the watchful guardians of childhood are no longer much-needed.

Tonsils are a bit like parents: looming large early in life, diminishing over time, ever-protecting, ever-teaching, but sometimes with rough or hard spots when we let things build up ;^)

Did you find this article helpful? Do you still need more information? Let us know below.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is the founder of DrGreene.com (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.

  1. Radica

    I also saw yesterday for the first time that i have stones in my tonsils😁 I was getting feedback from people that my breath is not that good for quite some time, few years. Didnt know what the reason could be, because im taking good care of my teeth and checked with dentis and all is perfect. So it kept bothering me this problem and i was trying to find out the reason why my breath is bad😩 And searching and reading online i saw this cause, stones in the tonsils, went to check and with a lots of efford could see that i have few showing and who knows how many deeper😬 Tryed to take them out after watching the videos about it, but goes very bad and hard, is not easy at all, plus ut hurts, it bleed and a bit vomit😵, discusting. So i was talking with my mom today and she explained me nice as more experienced person and to me make sence: it is from debrise, food, bacterias etc, but thats the purpose of the tonsils, to attach bacterias to protect out body, yeah, to bad that food also stuck in there but has to be that way, its just the passage! And thats why, after some time of protecting us from bacterias, attaching food and doing its process there of stoning all those things together, thats why later we get painful or sore throat, all this debrise will actually inflate, iritate our throat and we will get sick and all this pockets filled with white stones will be even more visible or bigger, means they start iritating our throat and than we see a doctor and we take antibiotics and the antibiotics will help hell this sore throat and it will remove the dead cells or bacterias collected there. And than the process start all over again, collecting again food, bacterias etc… And sick again and antibiotics etc.. So, its a normal process of our life, for some people more often for some less, or for some more severe for some less. So, some who get extreme infections very often on the throat, they decide to operate them and end of story. For others who suffer more or less from time to time, we keep fighting like this and will countine. So, in the mid time what can we do to reduce this stones that produce bad breath and sore throat, my logic of all i have been reading and searching could be this, or what i have decided to do about it😊: since i have the stones now, im going to see a doctor and going to try to take a dose of prescribed antibiotics ( my mom told me that on us as kids and her and now she is taking care of my old sick grandmother she has seen the stones fall off by them self after antibiotics or even better injection, even i dont want because later they destroy all my body flora, but will be taking in the same time probiotics and vitamins and drink a lots of water), and while taking antibiotics and after that will try to reduce the chance of letting things stuck there quick. Will take care more about my dental care, will brush my teeth as usual morning and night ( u can do it after every meal if u want, i know i will not stick to that for long😬), but, as recommended from you guys here, with oxyganing toothpaste, scrub my tounge, after will use floss to remove better all debrise and later will wash my mouth and gargle with oxyganing mouth wash as longer as better( things that im about to go and buy them now😊). Also later will probably order at least the toothpaste and mouth wash from Therabreath, because i have read a lot that are good and they help for this, many comments of people are positive about them, so im curious of trying it 😀. Than, while eating and after eating and when i dont eat, will try to drink as much as possible water ( because i know i dont drink enough and its not good). Than will also countine taking probiotics for some time or lets say 2-3-4 times a weeks just to maintaing good flora balance. Will eat more healthy food as vegetables, fruits, sugar free yougurt rich with ferments-good flora, drink green tea, camomile, try to consume apple cider vinegar in salad and also drink it with water and honey, drink water a lot all the time to countine washing my mouth and throat and of course keep it hydrated and clean. Will garggle also with warm salt and water ( can be coconut oil, extra virgin oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and salt, all this mixed with warm water) and also i dont know if u have heard about propolis, i know it helps a lot for sore throat, u can spray ur throat or i have 100% natural and im using 3 -4 small drops disolved in half cup water and gargle. What else i have read from u guys 😀, hmm… Ah, yeah, also i have for quite some time, few years, post nasal drip, dont know why and how to stop it, if someone knows please let me know😀, but i would try to use also nasal drops or take out those nasal drips as soon as possible not to let them stay behind my throat for long ( durring sleeping, cant do much😔). And of course try to stay in clean enviroment not to breathe in many bacterias 😜 Or if its to much of polution use mask as chinese 😊. Thats all i can think of it right now, so in short: curring the stones now with antibiotics to get them dissapear and starting the daily routine of brishing, washing my mouth nice with oxyganing toothpaste and mouthwasher and using floss, it is very important, gargling with the mixes with warm water that i mention before, eating grapefruit, all other fruits, vegetables, green teas, camomile and A LOTS of WATER, to not let things stuck in my throat. Well… Pretty much this, its simple i guess its just trying to lead more healthy life and better oral hygine 😊 Lets see if my breath improves and if the stones dissapear and most lets see if i can maintain this forever 😁 Good luck to all.

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    • Hi Radica,

      I think you’re onto something here

      “Pretty much this, it’s simple I guess. It’s just trying to lead a more healthy life and have better oral hygiene.”

      A healthy diet, hydration, and a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone. Some people don’t have immediate health issues from a less healthy life, but others can’t. For some who more susceptible to tonsil stones, the symptoms start in the throat. For these people hydration and a great diet may do the trick.

      Please let us know how you fair with your new commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

      Best,
      @MsGreene

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  2. Chanel

    I like the way you described it, thank you and yes very helpful!
    So glad it does not equal tonsil removal… :)

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  3. Eva D

    I have noticed within the past week that I’ve been getting a lot of tonsil stones only on my right side. Awhile back I have seen them in both but never had a second thought about them. But recently it seems like they won’t go away. Some can be as small as eraser shavings or almost as big as cooked rice grains. Both of my tonsils seem to also be very enlarged but my right side has a much larger hole where I can see inside a lot easier. I’ve tried a lot of home remedies and nothing has worked so far. The first day I noticed them I had a sore throat, it went away. The only way I can notice them without looking inside my tonsil is by the taste of the stones and the slight feel of something in my throat. I’m 16 female with occasional GERD and I have medication for it, not sure what to do or where to go to. I’ve told my parents but my mom isn’t concerned whereas my dad is. Any ideas?

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    • Hi Eva,

      Many of our readers report that dietary changes make a big difference. Many report sweets are the culprit. Others say going vegan is the answer to getting rid of tonsil stones.

      One of our readers, Ava, compiled this list of possible remedies:

      1. 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and water concoction to gargle with vinegar and water gargle
      2. salt and water gargle
      3. swish / gargle coconut oil for 5-20 minutes per day
      4. cotton applicator stick with mouthwash
      5. Earpick
      6. Waterpik® Ultra Water Flosser WP120
      7. Kitty Hydrofloss Waterjet Irrigator

      I personally think it’s likely different causes (and therefore different cures) for different people. Since you have GERD, your’s might be more diet related. Have you tried cutting out sugar to see if that helps?

      Please let us know.
      @MsGreene

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  4. Scooby

    A lot of people are cosidering having their tonsils removed to get rid of tonsil stones. I had my tonsils removed when I was 5 years old, as a young teenager I noticed a lump at the back of my throat on one side where my tonsil was removed, it had a small hole in it and I saw white in the hole. Igave the spot a push and out popped several tonsil stones. Problem not solved!!. Ten years later I went to another ENT and had another operation. He excavated a large area to remove the lump and clean out the gunk. You could have parked a car in the crater. It healed after awhile but a second time it also healed with a pocket in the tissue and a little hole that collects food particles and turns into tonsil stones . Soooo…, 2 operations I still have tonsil stones. I hope it works out better for everyone else

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  5. Mika

    I personally just had my tonsils removed after years of suffering, when ever I had tonsil stones I felt horrible. Sometimes it felt so bad I was bed ridden, often suffering from a low grade fever. Once the stone was removed I would start feeling better, for years I suffered from ringing in my ears. First thing I noticed when waking up from surgery is no ringing in my ears.

    Thankfully after years of battling with ENT’s who didn’t want to listen I found one who would. He wanted me to try something and if it didn’t work he’d remove them. As horrible as I feel post op. I feel like removing them was the right move after stuffering for almost 15 years.

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    • Renee Ashcroft

      I had my tonsils removed at age five, a total removal, not partial. As a teenager I noticed a lump on one side of my throat with a small hole in the middle, and white spot in the hole gave it a push and out popped a tonsil stone, the area on that side of my throat healed with a pocket behind the skin and food was getting in through the little hole, so I still had tonsil stones. Several years later I went to another ENT and had the affected side operated on again, had that under skin pocked cleaned out , you could have parked a car in the crater that was cleaned out. Long story short, It healed up with a pocked behind it again and I still have tonsil stones . So I hope surgery works out better for other people.

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  6. Lilly

    I used to get tonsil stones almost every week since I was a kid. They were big (about the size of a chickpea), they caused bad breath, earaches, and I got sore throats very often. 3 years ago I decided to go vegan for other reasons. Sometime during the first few weeks I started eating vegan, I realized I stopped getting those awful tonsil stones. To this day, I haven’t even got 1 tonsil stone since then. Not. One. Idk if anyone would be willing to change their lifestyle over this, but veganism 100% got rid of this problem for me. The vegan lifestyle has so many other benefits too, I really encourage everyone to at least do some research and consider veganism with an open mind.

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    • Sky

      Yes great tip!! I have heard the removal of dairy can help this. I am starting the whole 30 diet and that removed dairy but not meat. If that doesn’t help it, I’ll try full vegan, I’m not a huge meat eater anyway the dairy seems harder for me lol. Thanks for sharing!!!! Blessings to you!

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  7. Susan Hampton

    I am 43 and still deal with the stones occasionally. Mine are fairly easy to remove. A few days ago I developed a sore throat and I thought I’d fiND one but I did not. I did find a small firm lump in the back of my throat above my tonsils in a crevice. I’ve yet to be able to extract anything. Has anyone ever had one become lodged somewhere other than their tonsils?

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  8. CCM

    I have suffered with these for many years now. My tonsils are intact (not removed during childhood). When I suffer with them they are very hard to see and dislodge. Sometimes I can but most of the time I cannot. In recent months they are making me ill. Low grade sore throats and that feeling you get when a cold is ‘coming on”. To the point of being low on energy.
    I’ve had enough and will visit an ENT at the end of May 2016. Like many others, GP’s seem decidedly disinterested or even have no idea what you are talking about (the last one all but refused to even LOOK in my throat?! I’ll be begging to have my tonsils removed, regardless of the discomfort I know that will cause in the short term.
    Part of the issue is the impacts of the condition are understated or certainly not fully appreciated by the medical profession. This is surprising to me given the fact that tonsillectomy’s that were performed in a heartbeat pre- 80’s went out of fashion/were shunned by the profession and hence more people enter adulthood with the tonsils intact and hence, a greater risk of trapping the debris that gives rise to tonsil stones.
    Tonsil stone sufferers need a better deal!! I will keep this blog informed of my personal experience after I receive advice.

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    • L King

      Don’t be so quick to have them removed! This may seem like a “simple procedure” to you but there are risks involved during and after tonsillectomy. I lost a friend who died 2 days later from infection after the procedure. If you gargle daily, drink plenty of water and eat mostly fruits and veggies, then you reduce the chances of getting the stones.

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      • JeffBett

        I am 23 year old and i still have this problem of tonsil stones. it really isn’t something pleasant. always having soar throat and itchy ears (sometimes hard to differentiate it with allergy). This horrible smelly stones sucks i tell you!! . can someone give us a solution once and for all please?..

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        • R

          I suffered from the same condition before. It stopped when I stopped taking dairy products. Specially cheese. Salt gargles with water helps too.

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      • Chandi

        Omg really Sooo sorry for ur frnd but I’m hving a tonsil stones I get worried Wht to do they r not tht big small like size of grain

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    • R. Barker

      Please make sure you get a complete description of what to expect long term after a tonsillectomy. I have had tonsillitis for years and had gotten to the point that I had a sore throat and felt run down all the time. I saw an ENT who told me my tonsils had to come out. I am an adult and this surgery was much worse than a C-section. Beginning about a year after the surgery the tonsil stones began to come back. The are forming in holes that were left after the tonsilectomy. The stones are much larger than before the surgery. I’ve seen another ENT because of the constant sore throat who run a tube down my throat and told me everything looked fine. Well it is now two and a half years post surgery and the tonsillitis continue to get larger. I know I should find yet another ENT but I don’t know who to turn to and don’t know what they could possibly do about closing the holes anyway.

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      • R. Barker

        Tonsilths, not tonsillitis. Lol!

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        • Deb Krysa

          Actually, the term is tonsilolith.

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      • Bard

        Go to a dentists! If you find one that has experience/focus/specialist in oral medical health you will be in great hands. Dentists in general have more exposure to and experience with tonsil stones. They could also refer you to an oral surgeon that can properly remove tonsils so that no crypts remain. GPs are pill pushers and if there is no medicine for it then they don’t know about it.

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    • Cassy

      I totally agree. I’m 13 and I’ve been wanting my tonsils out forever now. They cause me so much pain it’s crazy. I already told my mom the next time I go to the doctor I’m not leaving until they agree to take them out. Sadly I currently have a soar throat right now😒

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  9. Red

    Wow. I wish I had come across this post with comments before spending an hour at the ENT doctor today, as the suggestions here for extraction without surgery were much more thorough & helpful. (My doctor was definitely pushing for surgery.) Previously, I had had the tonsil stones removed by an ENT doctor, but this time he did not attempt it due to not being able to see it visibly, even though I could feel it & scratch off a chunk with my finger nail. I’ve had tonsil stones the last three years or so. They seem to “bloom”, or grow to the point of being noticed physically, in the spring. As far as triggers for me, I eat dairy-free & wheat-free almost always, so I don’t think that is it. Also, I gave up coffee about a year or so ago, so that’s not it for me either. As far as possible links, I’m thinking it could be sugar related, sleep related, situational living conditions (possible mold), and/or taking calcium supplements. I also wonder about how the microbial balance in our gut may affect the balance of microbes elsewhere in the body. As for removal tactics, I don’t remember what I have used in the past. Whatever was long & solid enough without being too dangerous. Lol! Thanks for all the suggestions posted, though, and for all the great thoughts & advice. The feeling of connection & community, even online, helps ease the stigma 0f bad breath & feeling of isolation. Thanks guys! :)

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    • JeffBett

      well said Red.. at least i can feel that i am not a lone . Earlier on i was seeing this as sort of curse and I kept as a secret known only to me and myself. In fact this is the first time i am opening up!

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  10. Malooo

    I’ve always had massive looking tonsils with crypts all around that were turning almost everything I ate into tonsil stones. Main foods that were causing these stones to develop were pork, dairy and everything with soy in it. Eating any of these would bring on a swollen/lump sensation in my throat just hours after consumption (please note that the swollen throat sensation was around my Adam’s apple and nowhere near the palatine tonsils), a change in voice (voice got deeper), and I’d be spitting out tonsil stones from something I ate 2 weeks back. I had a tonsillectomy 4 months ago and was quite pleased with the outcomes (tongue turned pink, teeth got whiter, no gunk on tongue, no foul smell from the tonsil area, no swelling throat and most importantly, could get back to eating anything without worrying about tonsil stones). All was well until I had pork *bacon to be specific*. Post tonsillectomy, dairy and soy had no negative effects on me anymore so I assumed pork would also be safe to eat too (I was wrong). The pork didn’t cause tonsil stones or anything like that, but it did leave me again with a swollen throat and a very deep voice. It’s been 3 weeks since I stopped eating pork but the swollen throat feeling is still very much there showing no sign of returning back to normal. I’d like to point out that:
    * I’m 27, male.
    * Only had a reaction to pork, can eat anything else (3 weeks and not getting any better).
    * Lump is not painful.
    * Swallowing food is not painful.
    * Breathing normal.
    * Lump feeling is under the Adam’s apple (not tonsils).
    * Don’t believe I have symptoms for GERD. (However, throat feels like it’s taken the shape of an hourglass).
    * Globus neck exercises don’t make a difference.
    * 120mg antihistamine tablets don’t work.
    I’d just like to know what else can I take or do to get my throat feeling normal again.

    Thanks.

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  11. Meg

    Tonsil stones and vertigo?

    Hi everyone- I too have tonsil stones. I first noticed them about 2 years ago and it is at a point where it is bad and persistent. I have a huge hole in only one tonsil and (gross) the tonsil stones seem never ending and too far into my tonsil to get them all out. I am just curious if anyone has every experienced or linked tonsil stones to vertigo?? I have had vertigo for about 5 years now, seen almost every specialist under the sun, with no result or findings on what cause this… I am curious if this might be causing this. I am 25. Really appreciate it.

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    • Morgen

      Meg, I’ve been experiencing chronic dizziness somewhat like vertigo for about 14 months now and I’d say my tonsil stones probably started not too long before. I do wonder if there is a correlation.

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    • Rachel

      Perhaps have a chiropractor or physiotherapist try something called the Epley Maneuver. This worked to help with my vertigo. I think that also the tonsils being chronically swollen causes a higher likely hood of tonsil stones and in turn can cause trouble with ears and the ears are a huge factor in our sense of balance.

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      • L King

        Absolutely! I have always had ear & throat and allergy issues all of my life. I have found chiropractic treatment very helpful. Also avoid dairy & increase consumption of organic fruits and vegetables

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        • JeffBett

          Same thing to me L King, I still have these kind of allergies … soar throat and itchy ears..and at times spits the tonsil stones especially during wet seasons.

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          • JeffBett,

            It sounds like you have a combination of allergies and tonsil stones. Each one may make the other worse. Treating one may well help the other.

            What do you do “during the wet seasons” for allergies? What do you do for the tonsil stones?

            One easy treatment that may help both is putting about a half teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swishing it around for up to twenty minutes. Spit it out when you’re done. Do not spit into a sink, as it may clog the sink. I spit into a small paper cup and then throw that into the trash. Do not swallow it. If you feel any stones dislodge while your swishing, spit it out immediately and start over. Coconut oil has been used historically to sooth the mouth while dislodging debris.

            I’d love to hear if you try this and if it helps.

            Best,
            @MsGreene
            Co-founder and Executive Producer, DrGreene.com

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    • Missy

      Meg, It’s weird you bring that up because my daughter who is 8 has been complaining about these white balls in her throat. So I was online doing some research trying to figure out what they are. And sometimes just out of the blue she will tell me she is dizzy.

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    • Ross Scalise

      I have the same feeling of being unsteady and dizzy for a while now. I regularly overbalance. I have been told I have tinnitus. Also get big tonsil stones which I massage out frequently with ear buds (Q-tips). Feel constantly run down, sore throats and an enlarged tonsil on one side. I have GERD (reflux disorder) and my oesophagus doesn’t close fully which allows more build up.

      Must all be linked.

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    • AKK

      I am very interested to see a possible link here as I also suffer from low grade vertigo and tonsil stones.

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      • Let us know if you have anything new to report. We’d love to gather more data and seeing if there might be a link.

        If anyone else sees a link, we’d love to hear.

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  12. afshin

    Thank you for your helpful information. Doctors in Iran are very corrupted and ruthless, the only thing they care about is money. I wish there was some international supervision so they could not do whatever they want.

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    • chuchu

      does your daughter have badbreath?

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  13. Ken adamtey-kudjawu

    Thanks very much for the information. My problem is I feel that there is something in my throat. Recently I tried socking my throat out and what came out was shocking and the odor wasn’t good, for several times I have done that now irritation has gone.

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  14. Aleema

    i have a piece of skin hanging off my right tonsil which is solid and where the hole is behind it i keep getting yellow gunk which i keep scraping out however the yellow stuff just returns 30 min later.

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  15. Susan VanderHoosen

    For a year or two now, I had what I told my dental hygenist was a bad taste in my mouth, like I had licked cardboard or something. She said I had “dry mouth”. OK. So I got some rinse made for that. I am super dilegent with my oral care…brushing five times or more a day, including my tongue, floss every single night, use Therabreath, get a cleaning twice a year. But STILL I had this crappy taste in my mouth. I was always eating mints or chewing gum. One day I looked deep into my throat and saw a little yellow spot. I googled “bad taste in mouth and spot on throat”. Lo and behold, a whole screen popped up with “tonsil stones”. I was floored. I had NEVER heard of these! Eureka!!! I had a little metal device made for extracting blackheads, so armed with that and a tiny flashlight, I dug out about three of those gross things. This is now part of my daily routine. Sometimes I find one and sometimes I don’t. After extraction, I gargle hard with Therabreath. NO MORE BAD BREATH OR BAD TASTE IN MY MOUTH!!! I am so happy and so relieved that I found out about this horrible malady. Thank you to all who’ve posted!

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  16. Linette

    What if you think/know you have them but cannot see them, how do you get them out?

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    • tonsililith

      I have been sufering these since childhood. I have been scraping them with long swabs and tongue depresors (ice pop sticks) for decades. They are disgusting and I hate them. I know I have some coming because my tonsils get kind of swollen. But some times the “calculus” dont show until some days later or just stay in there. In this cases I just use the swabs to press around on the tonsil area until I see them come out one of the holes in the tonsil, and I keep pressing until I see enough has come out. It is disgusting! At first I would kind of choke but later you get used to picking your throat. Always gargle after picking on them to avoid infecting them. I have associate eating rice and such grains (millet, quinoa, etc, which I love) as precursors, they get worse a couple of days after eating them. :( I carry in my bag a Listerine spray thingy and it helps for the bad breath on those days and has help when I,ve had colds too.

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  17. Catelynn

    My throut hurts a lot, I can barely even take a breath. My right tonsil is very big. I am going to the hospital tommorow but i dont know what is wrong with my throut… Please help?

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  18. rick

    ive managed to remove and maintain stones from my tonsils within reach. but Ive got problems on the deeper ones that I cannot reach, the ones radiating the itchiness in my ear.. because of this the breath still hasn’t improved much. how do you deal with these deep ones?

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    • Gloria

      I am looking for the answer to that myself.
      I do believe that I am just going to get a tonsillectomy.

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  19. nooby

    One thing i wanted to say if u see my post i have had tonsillitis/ stones for 4 years last two times I went to the doc first he was shock told me they need to go he don’t see me for years then I got back and he asks me how I got better I’ve practically told you guys what I have done and still do it today don’tget me wrong this sucks but if your like me you find away since real doctors are losing there love in the practice

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  20. nooby

    OK this should help almost any/ every body Iin some way . So when these pockets get filled with stuff not alot oust enuff to make your throat soar or Iif there just sore steem! Yes get them steamed all nice moist with clean steam it will sooth them and maybe lose the crap in them more gargle with guess what? Antibactrerial soap it won’tkill u just don’t swallow alot and swoosh alot to help with test. Use salt water to if u want works great to. Cold cold water gargle with cold water nothing but cold clean water to cool sooth and take down and lose the stuck food or particles then right after use Luke warm to cold hot water with salt or soap in this step it will draw disinfect and help recover. If u scrap the big out then do so make sure hands are washed well. Flushing them out with water from a syringe large and plastic preferred safety first or the spray hose from your sink just spray it in them or as close a possible with cold or warm no matter just ddon’t drown your self . And I’msorry for those what u would like to call llumpsIin your neck but ice packs is best to help those right under your chin above your Adams apple if you can feel/see it the glands in yourn neck swell up so ice is nice another eat food aaccording to your tonsils what you notice helps wile and after eating soft non starchy foods help in the long run I’ve figured are good but Its your best interest to try and feel how u do with all kinds of food every one is not the same. Brush up to 3 times a day gargle with mouth wash to if it’s not to harsh up to 2 a day like I said u can use Antibactrerial soap as well this isa new one or people have not hear about this drink black or green tea the acids inthem are nnaturally able to draw out infection and kill bad breath. Leafs or thebag no matter.. above all I am not a doctor these tips are to give some helpfull advice to help with this chronic condition if there is any serious chronic symptoms like bleeding swelling, hard to breath, unable to speak or finish words do to severe pain of throat. Light headedness Valmont, or lose of hearing and, or vision contact a doctor or hospital as soon as possible

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  21. nicklebum

    I recently started dating a pretty young woman and I noticed after about the 3rd or 4th time we kissed heavily that I would end up with one or two of these yellowish / off-white ball like things in my mouth. I haven’t said anything yet mainly because it would probably ruin the mood. I just quietly spit them in my hand and I’ve actually saved them in case they might need a biopsy. As time goes on I’ve noticed the balls/stones are getting much bigger and also stink like rotten eggs. It’s hard to imagine something so nasty coming out of such a pretty girl. I don’t know if the stones are getting worse or if she isn’t taking care if herself as well once becoming comfortable with me. It’s also went from 2-3 stones to 5-8 stones that are twice gas large.

    Should I say something to her? I already know she removes them occasionally but it’s getting to be unbearable. Since they have gotten worse I can actually smell when one pops out during sex/making out. For lack of a better term its like someone ripping a rotten fart in your mouth while trying to maintain an erection.

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    • fefe

      Oh my God,at first ewwwwww,secondly it gross then thirdly u HV to let her know,if not that relationship will be snappy.

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  22. Ben

    I am a 28 year old RN who has NEVER heard of tonsil stones. I recently started running a low grade temp which quickly rose to, and sustained, around 101* (oral). I treated the temp with Acetaminophen 650 mg q6 hours. I began having sore throat, swollen tonsils, bad breath, and aches in my neck and ears (bilaterally), along swollen lymph nodes under my neck. I went to see a friend of mine who is an ENT and was shocked when we removed not 1, 2, or even 3…..but a whopping 6 stones from my tonsils. I am now 2 days post removal and my fever has now broken to a low grade 99.6 (oral). My breath has improved, but my throat remains sore. I attribute the elevated temp to the release of WBC’s that were fighting off these little bundles of joy that were lodged on my tonsils. My friend of course suggested I have a tonsillectomy as soon as possible, but I am now questioning this. I am hoping that simple diet modification will prevent more stones from developing. Any suggestions on preventative maintenance? Much thanks.
    Ben P, RN, CCRN, CCHP

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  23. mishe

    Throughout most of my life, those annoying, little calculi have appeared and disappeared in my tonsils. For the longest time, I wanted to have my tonsils removed so that those crypts could not form those tiny little yellowish balls of bacteria…However, I’m so glad that I did not remove my tonsils. Now I am glad that my tonsils are doing their job and blocking those balls of bacteria from being injected further into my body. I have also discovered that I am more inclined to develop the calculi when I eat breads, pastas and other carbos-namely lots of sugars that get broken down initially in the mouth in concert with the enzymes from our salivary glands. If I refrain from breads, pastas and sugars, I don’t get the smelly stones at all. However, when I do imbibe on those carbs and get the stones, I have a plastic syringe with a curved tip that my dentist gave me way back when that I fill with water and I can squirt water into the tonsil cavities to flush out the stones and spit out. It’s not the best system but I find it okay to manage and a better option than surgery to remove the tonsils. Also, having experimented with eating different types of foods and seeing the effect, I am more and more convinced that my tonsils are there to help me, as DrGreen’s article above states. For those of you with stones, you might want to try altering the foods you eat, keep a diary of whether certain foods create more stones or not and see how the foods you ingest affect the production of stones (or lack there of) in your tonsils. Surgery should always be the last option-don’t cut into your body! Modifying what you ingest is so much easier and you have all the control to affect change in your body’s health.

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  24. Alex

    Plausible treatments extracted from comments:

    • 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and water concoction to gargle with
    • vinegar and water gargle
    • salt and water gargle
    • coconut concoction to gargle for 5-20 min
    • cotton applicator stick with mouthwash
    • Earpick
    • Waterpik® Ultra Water Flosser WP120
    • Kitty Hydrofloss Waterjet Irrigator
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    • Alex

      and
      4 day fast
      no sweets for a while

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  25. rick

    very thankful for this thread. im 23 and has the same problem. like you guys I thought the culprit of the breath problem was on my dentition which I took desperate measures with the dentist. But was very disappointed for it did not solve the problem. now i see this thread and these people sharing ways to solve this very unpopular mouth phenomenon. ill try everything you shared. thanks guys!

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  26. cheri

    Out of nowhere at the age of 45 I noticed these white/yellow, mushy, smelly “blobs” in the back of my throat. Now, I brush my teeth twice a day and floss (most of the time) like most people I know. So why was I getting these things now? The dentists/doctors could not give me a clear diagnosis on what they were. So I started ready anything I could find online. Finally I realized they were coming from these rather deep crevices in my tonsils. Food, acid reflux, bacteria – Gross!! And, there is no cure or medicine to perminately get rid of them. So now I have a routine I follow every morning and bedtime. I brush my teeth as normal, along with my tongue, and floss. Then I put warm water and mouthwash into my Water Pik and at a fairly high setting, direct that liquid stream right into those crevices to remove any debre I missed. Another things is to get a very small flaslight and while holding the light with one hand and looking into the mirror, gently push with the tip of your pointer finger, below your tonsil, moving your way up, and it will also dislodge most of those nasty things.
    I definitely would recommend getting the water pin. They are fairly inexpensive and getting those things out while keeping your mouth super clean with the added mouthwash will make a big difference.

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    • Skittlez

      Thank you

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  27. cheri

    Out of nowhere at the age of 45 I noticed these white/yellow, mushy, smelly “blobs” in the back of my throat. Now, I brush my teeth twice a day and floss (most of the time) like most people I know. So why was I getting these things now? The dentists/doctors could not give me a clear diagnosis on what they were. So I started ready anything I could find online. Finally I realized they were coming from these rather deep crevices in my tonsils. Food, acid reflux, bacteria – Gross!! And, there is no cure or medicine to perminately get rid of themm. So now I have a routine I follow every morning and bedtime. I brush my teeth as normal, along with my tongue, and floss. Then I put warm water and mouthwash into my Water Pik and at a fairly high setting, direct that liquid stream right into those crevices to remove any debre I missed,

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  28. zach

    Bless you man; this was helpful! I have wondered why I have had a reoccurring, mild soar throat, which now seems to be a symptom of these mysterious white bodies that I have worried about for awhile now. Thanks Dr.

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  29. Kryskrys

    Try non fluoride buy toms. Ive suffered for ten years. It I’ve done everything from water pik, brushing 6 or more times a day, shoving tooth brush down throat qtips to lodge out of tonsils gargle salt warm water, oral biotics bliss12*very helpful annoying to do every single day. Many doctors who look at me like they have no clue. One day i came across an article how fluoride is poison yes it was a funny article anyways . I thought to myself maybe fluoride is bad for my mouth so i decided why not try non fluoride . With in a week i started feeling less and less of these crap balls. Its been 6 or more months ive been clean. My breath is fresh i only brush my teeth 3 times and gargle salt and warm water once week. I can finally snuggle with my husband and talk to him close up without having to turn my head. I finally had the confidence last week to kiss him without stopping to brush and rinse teeth. I hope this helps its doesn’t hurt to try everyone is different not everything work for everyone . If this helps you spread the word.

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  30. Ethan

    I have a small chunk taken out of my right tonsil somehow, its been hurting for days and its really red! What do i do?

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    • Sounds like it’s time for a visit to your doctor. Depending on your healthcare coverage and their availability, you could start with your internist, an ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat specialist) or even your dentist. He or she will point you in the right direction.

      Hope that helps,
      @MsGreene
      Executive Producer, DrGreene.com

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  31. Chris

    Hi,

    My 7 year old daughter occasionally (every 3 or 4 months) gets small bits of food stuck in her throat. She has problems removing them and has to make herself sick. A specialist here (Spain) has suggested that she has her tonsils, which are quite large, removed. Does this seem like a sensible course of action?
    Any advice would be much appreciated.

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    • Kryskrys

      Try non fluoride tooth paste by toms. I’ve been suffering with this for 10yrs. I’ve done everything from water pik, oral biotic pills called bliss12 *very very helpful, brush teeth 6 or more times a day , gargle salt, qtips to lodge them out of tonsils shoved tooth brush down throat. Off topic i read an article on how fluoride is poison blah blah. So i thought hey maybe it is bad for me. I went out bought non fluoride and i only use salt and warm water to gargle. With in a week i started to see a huge difference. I’ve been free from these nasty crap balls for 6 months. I hope this helps. Its doesn’t hurt to try. If it works for you spread the word.

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      • Wow, this is the first time I’ve heard that tip. Thanks so much for sharing.

        If anyone else tries this, please report back on your experience.

        Thanks!
        @MsGreene
        Executive Producer DrGreene.com (not a doctor)

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  32. Aneezah Blancio

    I was trying to remove my tonsil stone, but when I cough, the tonsil stone remove. So when I checked my mouth, there is this like a black marks or like a hole where that tonsil stone is placed. Is that normal? And what should I do?

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  33. Nini

    For years now I suffered from bad breath. I go to the dentist every 6 months, brush my teeth 3 times a day floss 3 times a day and scrape my tongue with a tongue scraper and nothing seems to work. I always feel that I have something stuck in my throat. Please solve my problem.

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    • Sounds like you’re doing a great job with oral hygiene and that isn’t the issue. Have you asked your dentist to probe your throat area to see if you have tonsil stones? If your dentist is not comfortable checking or this is not his / her area of expertise, you can go to an ENT for an exam.

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  34. nana

    I know about tonsil stone because it come when I’m cough most of the time.

    I don’t really think about it until i have sore throat and spure for almost two weeks. One day after meal i felt something stuck on my tonsil and even i try to swallow it, it just stuck.

    I check it on mirror and I saw something look like spure but it doesn’t hurt or else. I try to scratch it with my finger, and I get tiny tonsil stone.

    I ask my co-worker, a dentist, she suggest that I gargle with water and efisol liquid. I did it so many times, but it still stuck and I feel it getting bigger.

    Last night I searched how to get rid of tonsil stones. On Wikihow, they said use wet cotton bud to gently removed it, and it worked!

    I was surprised because these things are hidden so deep and cause a big hole after I remove most of it (like a pimple).

    That night, I used efisol liquid to gargle, take vitamin C and sleep. Now, I feel much better, the pain already gone, spure doesn’t hurt like days before.

    I am a little worried because if the hole still exist, food can stuck there right? Can it become another tonsil stone, maybe even worse than now?

    (I’m sorry for my insufficient english, english is not my native language.)

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    • In the comments below there are many great suggestions for removing, treating and preventing tonsil stones. These are from other readers who have tried many remedies and share what they’ve found to be most helpful. I suggest you try some of them and see how they work for you.

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    • lillyanne24

      Hey everyone! I suffered from the very annoying tonsil stones for a long time as well. I had my tonsils removed on Friday the 2nd and it was truly the best thing I could have done! Don’t get me wrong this pain is hard but the doctor told my mom and I that when he removed the tonsils they were growing inward instead of out, he also said the tonsil stones are from bacteria and the naked eye can only see so many but deep down there is always so much more. Ewe gross 😣 but that is the only way to get rid of them and get rid of them forever! Good luck!

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  35. katrina

    I was happy when within 5 minutes of my ENT seeing me he said he’d be happy to remove my tonsils, without even really looking in my mouth. But my insurance needs me to meet a deductible of $2,563.00 first. So im looking for a home remedy that can suppress this problem until then. My only concern is bad breath that im not trying to cover up with mouth washes or gum because u can still get a hint of it even with using those.

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    • Flower

      Use Therabreath Mouthwash and Toothpaste. Works wonders.

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    • Kryskrys

      Try non fluoride tooth paste by toms. I’ve suffered 10yrs. Once i switched it stopped. It doesn’t hurt to try do some research fluoride. Stop using mouth wash use salt and warm water to gargle. If it works for you spread the word. Before i discovered non fluoride toothpaste. I used or oral biotics called bliss 12 look up too also very helpful but never stopped all the way.

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  36. PRANJIT

    Before 1 month, when I take a deep breath trough my mouth with the mouth wide open I feel pain near the tonsil, but this week I looked on the glass and shocked of seeing a white substance on the back of the mouth above the tonsil. I visit an ENT doctor yesterday, he told me that this is not a serious problem, its tonsil keratosis. The white layer is the food particle deposited. He removed the white particles from there and told me to maintain oral hygiene. Gave me chewable tablet Lidocam (Benzoxonium chloride + Lidocaine), and an antioxidant capsule and told me to gargle with Hydrogen Peroxide with warm water.

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  37. Odysseus

    My father used to tell me the one and only cure and prevention to all those problems, frequent mouth washing and daily gargling with pure sea water.
    In a month all problems (including gum problems) are gone. I guess its the salt and iodine doing this miracle. In the ’60s, finding pure sea water was easy for my father: Living in a Greek island, was a few seconds walk from his doorstep to the sea shore. I understand that nowdays with all this pollution even if you live by the sea does not guarantee pure sea water… Furthermore, most people nowdays live in big cities, making it impossible to follow this simple “cure”. Still, i m mentioning here, in case it does help some, even few lucky that can try it :)

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    • I wonder if a daily rinse with sea salt and purified water would work. Have you tried that?

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  38. Terri Reed

    Thank you for the information. I still get these ‘stones’ a lot and I am 47years old.I had a lot of throat problems when I was growing up. I have extremely large tonsils and the Dr’s wouldn’t take them out when I was younger even though my parents insisted. I have continued to have problems with them even as an adult.

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  39. planet.PH

    The tonsil stone remover (aka ear pick) with light does not work for me. It was too bright when put inside the throat so I couldn’t see clearly because of too much brightness and kind of painful to the throat coz it was too hard. What I did was I bought a 6-inch cotton applicator stick (much like cotton ear buds, only with longer sticks) and Listerine natural green tea which I gargled the night before I removed them. The cotton applicator is much more effective compared to a regular ear bud because with it you can even lift a small portion of your throat to see a bigger part of your tonsils. The following morning, this is when I really got surprised coz hiding beneath that lifted portion of my throat were bigger chunks of tonsils stones. This time I really was determined to get rid of these tiny irritants. I was really shocked I was able to remove so many of these.

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  40. Jessie

    My names Jess an I’m 15, I recentley had a peritonsillar abcess drained and just a few days ago I noticed a really large hole at the the side of my throat near my tonsil and Im really freaked out an I don’t know what to do.

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    • Dr. Phil

      Perhaps a blackhole has grown inside of you as a result of the procedure you have done recently. This eventually will suck you from the inside out. I suggest you go to NASA for treatment. They would know how to handle blackholes. :)

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    • V

      That could be your sinus cavity. Tell your doctor, in any case.

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  41. Konny

    Dear all,

    Awesome posts and blog: And my heartfelt sorrow for all of us!

    I have those stinky things too, however, I believe they only smell once they are exposed – meaning, while they are ‘hiding/engulfed’ in the tonsils’ crevices (caves, craters?) they do not smell at all. If you see one poking out, but mostly inside, rub a cotton swab on top of it, without moving it. It does not smell like anything (well, mine doesn’t) … but pop them out and will get the odor we all know so well… and try to forget!
    I do not believe we can/could possibly remove every invisible (to the naked eye) particle of food out of the depths of those criptic/cavernous tonsils. Something will always get caught there. Bacteria, slime, foods, etc. However, gargling with all/any of the above – as everyone else mentioned: coconut oil, apple vinegar, salt+water, and alcohol-free mouthwashes (ones with alcohol will eventually destroy the cells in your throat), oh and equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water also can be harsh with daily, prolonged use… So, yeah: a good clean mouth will harm no one, but the truth is: I do not think we can keep everything out of those ‘traps’ in our tonsils… But we can certainly minimize/delay the formation of bigger ones.

    Also, I believe that chewing gum can contribute to more saliva, therefore more antibacterial agents… Sugar-free gum, but without any artificial sweeteners (Xylitol, like it was mentioned by some is good for your teeth.)

    Note: We have a few tonsils in our head: two are the palatine tonsils (the ones you can see, bilaterally, when you open you mouth to check for the disgusting things; the other two are part of our pharynx (throat) and they are deeper below what our eyes could see… I believe I get some stones from those. And those would be the ones you would gag when they are released in the open.

    I also believe there should be a way to ‘cauterize’ those holes, once and for all. Doctor Greene? Could you give us you input on that?

    Have them cleaned out, professionally, do a CT or MRI to confirm there is none of them hiding and then just seal those holes. If it is true they form from debris. Now, if the come from other internal sources, or from our lymphatic system… Then, closing those holes could be of no help… On the contrary.

    I think stress contributes to more formation of the tonsilloliths. I have notice it for myself.

    Feel free to correct me if I am wrong. Good grief: these are the MOST disgusting things in our body. I even think that ‘pooping’ is an beautiful thing: at least the waste is out in a discrete and effortless manner… And it is easily cleaned. And you can walk away from the smell. Now, walking around knowing your tonsils are forming a rotten poop inside of your mouth without warning when they will come out?? OH MY GOD: it is the grossest thing in the world!

    P.S.: I too have been using my waterpick with warm water and some alcohol-free listerine, or salty-water (less suggested due to calcification of saline residue in the pipe), or peroxide mix… It hurts a bit, but maybe it preventes them from forming a bigger stone.

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    • Ellen

      A very interesting article and post!
      Many people say to me, to have the tonsils taken out (I’m 34), but I feel they do prevent me m catching illness sometimes and it is hard to get doctors time and attention for this on the nhs in the UK. Also I have read many times that even once out , you can still have tonsil stones from crevices where the tonsils have been removef? Is this true, as it doesn’t seem quite logical?

      And what do people think about drinking tap water in relation to the causes of the stones?. Here near London Thames water add calcium into the water. Is it the calcium etc in hard water that could be causing the stones? When I drink and rinse with cold water after haggling with salt water am I actually adding to the problem? And like someone else pointed out in the way that squeezing spots opens up your pores so they become worse over time, is my regular Bobby pin opening of the crypts in my tonsil actually making the problem worse? And as this problem only occurs on one tonsil can you have just the one out?

      When I press a cotton bud soaked in warm salt water against the tonsil and that area of the tonsil turns whitish that makes me more sure there is a stone behind caught in the fold somehow but where to find the opening place?

      And at what point in a relationship do you mention that you have this issue, many people have never heard of? I mentioned it to someone I fancy in a friendly chatty way and now think they would probably never want to kiss me!!!

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  42. hien

    rinse your mouth with salt , water and vinegar 3 or 4 times a day . It help me almost gone

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    • Dr. Phil

      please specify the ratio of water, salt and vinegar in this mix. thanks.

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  43. Marilyn

    I’m kind of a health nut and I believe that it’s my lymphatic/immune system that is compromised, and the reason I may be getting them is my lymph system can’t keep up with it. I was once told to take good care of my tonsils because they are there for a reason….to help fight all the invaders, and once they’re gone, we need them so badly that they sometimes grow back! No dairy and grains and mucous-forming foods has helped, and juicing and getting healthier, staying away from junk. It’s hard to get and stay heathy😏

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  44. Anne

    Sorry spelling is Xylitol…still very easy to find even at convince stores. Garlic truly seems to help (even in pill form). Some places on wen state it has to be fresh garlic, but my daughters have frequent ear aches and taking garlic for 3 to 4 days in pill form has fixed the problem 75% of the time.

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  45. Anne

    Try Trident which has Xylatol (or other gum with it)- it kills bacteria and studies show even has helped ear infections. It reduces my tonsil stones as a preventive option. Also garlic is a natural antibiotic and vinegar. My family uses vinegar and alcohol after swimming in rivers. Our doctor stated the alcohol dries out the water and the vinegar kills bacteria. We have found always using this after swimming helps reduce both ear and throat infections. The Xylatol gum (easy to find Trident has it) works for me.

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  46. Gloria

    Twelve years ago at age 58, I was told I had infected and enlarged tonsils. My ENT doctor told me I had to get a water pic to keep them clean or food would get trapped in the large cavities of the tonsils, and my tonsils would become infected again and the infection could spread throughout my body and kill me. I asked for removing my tonsils but was told that was not advisable due to my age, in that I might bleed to death. I felt I had a death sentence. I’d be damned if I removed my tonsils and damned if the infection returned and became severe again.

    Since then, I have had numerous sore throats and long-lasting colds. But now, twelve years later, I got another severe infection in which I couldn’t swallow and I was choking on my saliva. I went to a different ENT this time. So at age 71, he recommended that I get my tonsils removed, stating that I should have done so at age 58, but I should not be concerned about bleeding to death at my present age. He said it would be harder on me now, but he does not think it would be a problem.

    Who should I believe – the doctor who strongly advised against it 12 years ago vs. the present doctor who thinks I should now have my tonsils removed? I am tired of all the illness, but don’t want to bleed to death. How dangerous would it be at my present age?

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    • First, I am NOT a doctor, so this is just one patient to another.

      Consider this, many, many things in medicine have changed in the last decade. You are seeing a different doctor, who many have more experience with cases like yours. Perhaps you’re taking different medicines now than you were 12 years ago. That said, if you’re not comfortable with the surgery, consider getting a current second opinion before making up your mind.

      Remember, doctors are people. Most of them try very hard. Some times they make mistakes. Since we only have one body, it’s our responsibility to get the best help we can.

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    • mo

      Hi Gloria,,

      You and me seem to have the same problems. I am 65 and I have been told no to an operation and I have had sickness bouts for years. Like you I am fed up with the off days. Once I have antibotic my problems go and you feel you could fly. Sadly after a while the problems return again. I wrote about it all below… Read it and contact me.

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      • Gloria

        Mo
        I don’t know how to write to you as E-mail is private on this site. I can tell you that I am scheduled to have my tonsils removed in mid-July, but I want to learn more before I go through with it. A nurse friend of mine advised against it but said that if an ENT thinks I should, then I probably should. That didn’t help. I would like to find statistics on successful removal of tonsils for older people.

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        • mo

          Hi Gloria,

          I am in the same rotten boat as you .. great fun hey? I have asked for another appointment to see the ENT. The last time I saw him he wasn’t keen on removing them, too old, but I had so many problems with my throat. I want them gone.

          Antibotics work, yes and I feel great all for a month then its starts again — sore throat, ear ache, coughing, sneezing, feeling sick, headache. The worse part is when your throat closes whilst eating and you cough and cough till one is sick, then the throat is even more sore.

          As for the goo one coughs up, it is nasty. I am always coughing and blowing my nose once my throat starts again. And it effects my voice. It’s a lot deeper. I have just finnished my course of antibotics. At the moment I feel great, well sort of.

          Does the cold and wind effect your throat? It does mine. I feel as if my nose ect wants the sunny days only. As for if it a good idea having them out, may be one has to say I’ve had enough of feeling rotten and it’s because of our tonsils. Don’t know anyone my age that had their tonsils removed. Younger ones yes.

          Hope this helps. Let you know what happens. Bye, mo

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          • Gloria

            mo,

            I don’t know the reason for my tonsil flare-ups. I believe I may have a weak immune system, so I try to avoid sick people. That is hard to do because people who are coughing and sneezing like to have me believe it is just allergies they have. So why am I sick after being around them??? I wish I knew how to help you. I don’t know what is best for me. I am still searching for info.

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    • farooq

      My name is Farooq. I am 30 yrs old. I am suffering tonsils problem from the age of 15. Now it is enlarged and having a rough surface appearance. It is also become porous and a white colour puss entrapping on the pore holes, after few days it will go out like a hard stone. Now am very tense due to this problem. Is any immediate treatment required for this? Please give brief advise.

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  47. Shun jay

    Guys, I had tonsil stones for 2 years. I hated them. Just last week I found out how to never get them again. Gargle with listerine every night, it helps SO much! I haven’t seen Any sign of the stones ever since. Just a suggestion

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    • Grace

      Hi, could you tell me which type of Listerine? I’ve heard alcohol-based mouthwashes should be avoided for tonsil stones. Which do you use? Thanks in advance!

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  48. mo.

    i am 65 years old and for years i have had problems with my throat , in fact all the symptoms i have seen i have got including the tonsil stones which i only just found out about, i have been coughing sneezing them out for years not even knowing what was the cause,,i have seen my doctor and specialist all i was told my large tonsils are the cause ,,, so can i have them removed at my age .. i have been told i am too old .. so as you can guess i hate feeling unwell antibotics help i feel good for a while then it starts all over again,, am i able to have my tonsils out at my age is my question ,,

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  49. Lyana Mendiaz

    Please help! My daughter is four and I noticed that she’s been complaining about her throat hurting and her ears hurting as well. And like most parents I bought mdicines to ease the pain, but I just had her open her mouth and I noticed she had a weird white growth which appears to be Tonsil Stones on the roof of her mouth. I took her to, the Dentist and I was told to take her to the Dr. Which is ridiculous in my opinion. Anyways I would like to know how can I remove them? Without hurting her? Plese help. I dont like seeing jer her in pain. Thank you

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    • Are these on the roof of her mouth or in the back of the throat in the tonsils? If they are on the roof of the mouth, it doesn’t sound like they are tonsil stones, thus the dentist would send you to a pediatrician.

      Look forward to your clarification.

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  50. GARY

    I’ve been getting these stones all my life. The easiest way to get rid of them is with a straw. Then gargle with mouth wash.

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  51. Jessica

    I am the child referenced in this post and I had my tonsils out almost two years ago. It was the best decision I made for my health. They are actually made from leaking lymph fluid mixed with bacteria, NOT trapped food and debris. My tonsils ended up being on the verge of being necrotic and the doctor told me they were the most disgusting tonsils he’d ever seen in his whole career. And he was old. This article is very old, outdated. and incorrect. Tonsil stones are a sign of failing tonsils. They do not benefit you in any way once they’re doing this. I heard this from one of the best ENTs in this nation at one of the best hospitals for research and treatments, not a pediatrician. Get your tonsils looked at and removed if the ENT thinks it’s prudent. It’s an awful thing to go through, I even hemorrhaged a few days after that required a second surgery, but I don’t get sore throats anymore, and I rarely ever feel sick. It’s like I told him, I’d rather have died getting them removed than live with them one moment more.

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  52. Heather

    Thanks for this great information about tonsil stones. I’ve been getting these since I was 19 (I’m now 44). It was in my late teens that I began to have recurrent bouts of tonsillitis (nearly once a month), and the stones started shortly thereafter.

    Thankfully, with acupuncture, herbs, and diet, I finally stopped getting tonsillitis when I was in my mid-twenties, but it plagued me until then, with incredibly painful sore throats and swelling that made it impossible for me to eat.

    I can’t remember the last time I had a sore throat (thank God!), but I still get tonsil stones about once a week, in both tonsils, but more often in the right one, which is where my sore throats were usually the most severe. They feel really weird, they look really weird, and the smell is horrific. I wish there was a way to eliminate them.

    I often wonder if they would stop if I was somehow able to reduce the scar tissue on my tonsils. When I was 18, my doctor recommended a tonsillectomy, but I said no. I’m really glad I still have my tonsils, even though they create and eject these disgusting little blobs. My college roommate called them “tonsil poops.” Gross, but apt, I’m afraid :-)

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    • Wow, what an experience. I’ve never heard them called “tonsil poops” but I do get the picture.

      Several of our readers have made suggestions for controlling tonsil stones in the comments below. I highly recommend you read the comments and systematically try some of these natural remedies. I’m guessing each one works, but better for some people than others.

      We’d love to hear what works for you!

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    • Jessica

      Get them removed. I am the child referenced in this post and I had them out almost two years ago and it was the best decision I made for my health. They are actually made from leaking lymph fluid mixed with bacteria, NOT trapped food and debris. My tonsils ended up being on the verge of being necrotic and the doctor told me they were the most disgusting tonsils he’d ever seen in his whole career. And he was old. This article is very old, and incorrect, and tonsil stones are a sign of failing tonsils. They do not benefit you in any way once they’re doing this.

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  53. neiq

    I have suffered from tonsil stones since age 12 and I never knew what they were, I once asked my mother to check but she said that it will go away over time, but it didn’t. I once scratched one out with my tongue, but it doesn’t work anymore. They have caused me severely bad breath and I’m still too self conscious to talk as much as I used to! Sometimes they hurt a bit and its hard to get rid of them! I have never had tonsillitis and I don’t know what to do now…

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    • Hello Neiq!

      I’m copying this from below. It’s buried deep in the comments, but I think it applies perfectly to you …

      There are several great treatments used by other folks mentioned in the comments on this article. My favorite is using coconut oil to lubricate the throat so the stones slip out. The method is called “oil pulling”, but is very simple — place about 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for to to 20 minutes. Some times as little as five minutes will do the trick. When you’re done, spit the coconut oil into a disposable container (paper cups work well) and throw it away in the trash (not down the drain). You can do this a few times a day. It may take a week or so to see results. If it doesn’t work you haven’t lost much as it’s inexpensive and otherwise a healthy behavior.

      If you give this a try, please let us know how it works for you.

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  54. AMBER

    I reviewed this site after doing some research. I had a headache on the weekend, and when I woke up it felt like I had plastic stuck in my throat. I made hot tea and tried to just relax hoping to get whatever it was out… It did not.. It was quite annoying. I could feel my tonsils swelling on the one side.. I happened to look in the mirror wondering if I could see what was stuck, and saw a little white spot.. I poked and prodded with no luck. Did some research and found tonsil stones.. I used the coconut oil and a bobby pin and got it out.. The smell was absolutely horrifying.. I have a hole in my tonsil and I can’t I didn’t notice a smell? Now I’m so freaked out i’ll be looking in my mouth all the time.. My diet recently changed when I started a new job I drank more milk. I also have had 2 really bad mucus colds that seemed to last a longer than normal… Hope this helps someone else.. but coconut oil works(any suggestions of another oil? I gagged as I hate coconut)

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    • Lisa

      I had been researching these disgusting “stones” and after coughing up a half a teaspoon full last night I got desperate. I used a Waterpik on the lowest setting to get around my very large, weirdly shaped tonsils. I put a little antiseptic mouthwash in the reservoir along with the water. If you gag easily this method will not work for you! Also, I used only the lowest setting… even one setting up from the lowest would likely cause damage to tissue in the back of the throat. I’ll be talking to my doctor about getting rid of the tonsils altogether.

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  55. Mr. Johnson

    I’ve had this problem for a few months and now that I think of how I’d get this problem I think I know the troublestarter. I’ve been eating a lot of white bread (I used to eat brown bread almost every day) the past few months and I think that’s the issue (maybe it’s the colour, because my tonsil stones are as white). Maybe I’m completely off, but I seem to get them more often when I’m eating white bread… Anyhoo, going to try the apple cider thiny.

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    • I think you may be onto something there, but I doubt it’s literally the color. Instead I think it’s the lack of fiber in the bread you’re eating. When we eat highly refined foods (white bread counts here) they start to digest more quickly — even in our mouths. I suspect that process of breaking down the foods in our mouths makes for more mouth bacteria or at least different mouth bacteria.

      If you didn’t have crevices in your tonsils, you probably wouldn’t have the problem. If you changed back to whole grain bread, you probably wouldn’t have the problem. How about a test? Change back and see what happens? If you do, we’d love to hear the result.

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  56. JR

    I had these a couple years ago and the oddest thing was these were only triggered to develop when I had anything with lemon real lemon juice in it. I was a huge consumer of water with lemon juice in it–all the stars were doing it :o. I learned what amount I could have.

    So after a couple years of really good control and only a couple stones I was on vacation and got a sinus infection. Luckily in the Caribbean they sell over the counter amoxicillin. I took it and boom the stones never returned. And I’m back to my daily water with lemon. I’m NOT suggesting you self medicate without seeing a doctor but I know when I need penicillin and take maybe once every few years.

    Hopefully this helps others.

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    • john

      For many years I’ve had this problem without knowing..
      More than 5 yrs I suspected my mouth was smelling bad, I started brushing more than twice a day, using extra mouthwash and so on..
      That didn’t help with foul smell, I was very uncomfortable around people, suspecting myself, chewing gum didn’t help, I chewed until my mouth couldn’t take it anymore, I gave up.
      Around 3yrs ago, I noticed that every time I’d feel something stuck on my throat I will just cough and it will come out, jump out, never thought of checking because I’d think it was some food remnant, especially rice that I like eating and it had the form of a half grain..
      3 months ago, I got one out with my fingers as it slipped on my tongue, ended up smelling it and to my surprise it smelled very bad, and almost like the foul smell I get when I check my breath..
      I was devastated…
      I remembered all the clues people gave me about the bad breath; Last year I went to see the GP, she was checking my mouth from gum bleeding she suggested I see a hygienist or something like that (I think she saw the stones)..
      I decided to go to the dentist a month ago, I explained about the smelly particles coming out of my mouth, she said it was due to the plaques and gum disease, cleaned my teeth and gave me another appointment.
      It’s now 3 days since I read about tonsil stones that I’m taking them out by myself and am gurgling salty water, I use to cough one out every 5 days to a week but when removing I’ve taken out around 5 the first day and around 10 today.
      From the suggestions here i think I can control them as they came out without any problems, I already clean my mouth/teeth well it will just be a matter of flashing them out.
      I will continue gurgling salty water, until the hydrogen peroxide is delivered, just ordering now and tomorrow morning I’m going to buy apple cider vinegar to be drinking with warm water.
      3 days ago I stopped drinking coffee, was taking 2 to 3 cups a day and will reduce/stop alcohol intake, both unnecessary compare to better mouth smell. I don’t smoke.

      Pardon my English and John is not my real name ;)

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      • I’m so glad you found this article helpful. It would be great if you could control the Tonsil Stones on your own, but do continue to get your teeth cleaned every six months or year. This is important to overall health as well as better smelling breath.

        Best,
        @MsGreene

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  57. ReynoldMike

    Tonsilloliths are nothing but tonsil stones. Tonsilloliths may cause symptoms include a metallic taste, sudden coughing, throat closing or tightening and choking. Use natural treatments from Diane’s Puttman’s book “Banish Tonsil Stones” for your tonsil.

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  58. triveni

    hi.. i found yellowish particle in the throat coming and i was getting fever frm past 5months… i consulted Dr thy told infection thts y… recently got to know it is tonsil stones.. is there permanent cure for keratosis tonsils.. Dr has adviced for surgery so please suggest me wt to do…

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  59. Anonymous

    I’ve lived with this condition for over One year, In this period have learned that certain variables consist in lifestyle choices that are mitigating factors when attempting to diminish the presence of persistant discomfort. Which include, but not limited to diet, health, hygene, and age, as mentioned. As well as, in personal experience smoking or inhaling of tabacco products (cigarettes). However the conclusion drawn in instance is regardless of attempts to diminish symptom, the underlying condition will prevail. Therefore I continue to suffer. My request to the Web being. “Is there a diagram available for public viewing via internet containing in-depth illustrations of a healthy vs affected Tonsil, and the interacate workings there-in?” Highest Regards –

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  60. Tonsil rinser

    Hello people, there’s absolutely no need to wait for the tonsil stones to grow to get them out. If so you will get bad breath. Instead just go to any pharmacy and get the “waterpick waterfloser” for $70 and rinse out the tonsil cavities with the general tool pick at a medium pressure every morning before brushing your teeth. You can repeat this method everyday and the foul build up won’t stand a chance! This is an easy and effective method. Hope this will help you all!

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  61. apoorva

    My 3 year old son had tonsil stones…with fever…i dislodged it my finger…but still he continues to have fever… What may be the reason.. He does not have cough or cold but I’m worried if its swine flu… Please advice

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  62. Desiree

    Your description was much more thorough then any others, it even explained why, when I was a teenager, I first noticed these tonsil stones, and exactly why this happened. Now I feel much more relieved. I am completely convinced that I have no need for concern and plan to following the reasonable suggestions. I’m glad I found this site first. Thanks so much.

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  63. Cindy

    Thank you for this post site. As a child, I constantly suffered with tonsillitis twice a year for many years. Some were so severe that they required a doctor or hospital visit. The treatment, I remember, consisted of “painting my throat” with some kind of chocolate concoction, a penicillin shot and an oral prescription for “ice cream”. I was told to eat lots of it. I have not experienced the tonsillitis for many years, but the bad breathe has materialized and increased to the point where it is constant all the time. My PCP, ENT and others have not been helpful at all. They feel it is a mild problem and will soon go away, just drink MORE water and gargle. I too have removed little whitish hard substances from my throat and have constant ear ache, some days worse that others. This problem has me to the point of desperation and mild depression. Simply because I refrain from talking at times when I need to, due to the reaction of the people that I am talking to. Their facial responses and gestures, which assure me that they are smelling an unpleasant odor, is not very comfortable for me. It’s embarrassing and hurts. I am in my late sixties, and feel that a tonsillectomy would be too devastating at this age. Other than becoming a hermit, living in a bottle andor tolerating the offensive gestures, I just don’t know what to do. This is a real and serious problem. Thanks for listening. Cindy

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    • Anonymous

      It certainly does sound like you have tonsil stones. If you can do so without harming yourself, look up how to remove tonsil stones on the Internet. Or maybe go to a dentist to see what they can do. Please don’t let this condition go untreated if it is affecting you so severely. Best wishes

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      • There are several great treatments used by other folks mentioned in the comments on this article. My favorite is using coconut oil to lubricate the throat so the stones slip out. The method is called “oil pulling”, but is very simple — place about 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for to to 20 minutes. Some times as little as five minutes will do the trick. When you’re done, spit the coconut oil into a disposable container (paper cups work well) and throw it away in the trash (not down the drain). You can do this a few times a day. It may take a week or so to see results. If it doesn’t work you haven’t lost much as it’s inexpensive and otherwise a healthy behavior.

        If you give this a try, please let us know how it works for you.

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    • Jan G.

      Hi Cindy, I had the same problem for years and years and what works for me (and not trying to sound like an advertisement) are Thera-breath products. Walmart sells them as well as the major drug stores. The toothpaste and oral rinse are the most helpful as well as lozenges that simply neutralize the anaerobic bacteria in your mouth that is the major cause of the odor. I’m also trying out a less pricy method of using a 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and water to gargle with. Some people just have more of this bacteria in their mouths so this product adds oxygen to reduce their numbers. Best always…

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    • Cynthia

      I have had tonsil stones for many years–I get them whenever I don’t get enough sleep. I remove them with a Q-tip and gargle with hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide prevents them from forming and ends the cycle if it gets started.

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      • Excellent observation. Sleep is so important and impacts more parts of our lives than most of us realize.

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        • hhhh

          Meaningless what you are talking about

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    • Paula

      Hi Cindy,
      I know exactly how you feel. I too have suffered from this and for many years have removed these tonsil stones from my tonsils… they are vile and nasty. I have suffered from bad breath because of it and have lost friends and gotten depressed over it. For many years I didn’t know what the cause of my bad breath was. I now know but am unsure of what I need to do about it. I was scheduled twice to have my tonsils removed but chickened out both times because of the horror stories I heard from people about how they nearly bleed to death on the operating table because I am a “bleeder” I bleed easily and for a long time compared to what other people do. I removed a nasty tonsil stone today and just don’t know what else to do. Maybe I will try some of the suggestions/remedies from others on this site but Cindy I want you to know that you are not alone.

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  64. Chantal

    Hello my friends!! I had tonsil stones for about a year and a half now I had really bad breath — it was so embarrassing. I just got my tonsils out, but I found a remedy that worked for me before I got them out! I had no bad breath! Go to your local natural store and buy myrhh tincture or order online and also coconut oil. I used a tablespoon of coconut oil and 5 drops of myrhh and I used the oil pull method for twenty minutes!! This is the only thing that took away my bad breath!!! I’m happy to help you. Don’t hesitate to try this.

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    • alice downin

      I am 13 i have had tonsil stones 2 and a half years ive been in agony since i first started they say im very young to have the operation and it’s quite a long one i would be very grateful if u replied about all your experience with doctors and having your tonsils out i would love to know because im just taking more and more time of school and for what its not gettig better thanks alice

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      • Anonymous

        The younger you get them removed the easier the recovery, from what I understand. I’d talk to your parents about seeing an ENT about having then taken out.

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      • Tara

        I had tonsil stones as a child/teen with problem tonsils and bad breath. I ended up having a tonsillectomy at 17 and it was the best thing I did! Yes, the recovery was painful for a week but so worth it! It’s been 20 years and I NEVER get strep throat or sore throats (even when it’s cold season). It’s rare for me to even get a head cold at all– no matter what illness is going around. Everyone seems to make a big deal about not having surgery but for those of us who had significant problems in our youth, surgery is viable option. It’s better to have tonsils removed in your teens–easier recovery and then a life without bad breath and sore throats (for the most part).

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  65. laura chhan

    Thank you so so so much. I learned so much from this article. My right tonsil is swollen twice its size–and I already have large tonsils! I checked my tonsils and didn’t see any stones on the surface but I noticed a “hole” in my tonsil and inserted a q tip in it and soooo many stones kept coming out of it. Once I thought it was all gone, I’d rinse with salt water and more came out.

    I feel sorry for who ever smelled my breath! It smelled horrible. On top of that, it was bleeding and could tell it had bled inside this hole before. This whole time I thought it was pus and was afraid to scrape it off. Sure glad its safe to ’cause it always feel so much better when I do.

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  66. louise

    I’ve suffered 2 years with tonsil stones. The sore throat I can deal with, the bad breath I can’t. I was once very sociable to becoming house bound. Tried EVERYTHING to get rid of them. booked in to have them removed next month. I realy do feel for you all. Scared though. lol

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  67. Brooke

    I’m 31 and have had tonsil stones for 12 years . not getting any smaller. Its really bad! There is so much And blood just pores out, I don’t know what to do??? Please help

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  68. Charity

    Great article! Glad to know what they are called. I have had mine for as long as I can remember. One day the left tonsil got swollen, went to hospital and was given antibiotics. They didn’t work. Went back to the hospital and was given a second round of antibiotics. Nothing changed. I was very frustrated. Sat down with a mirror and a torch and tried to figure out what the white thing was. I took a toothpick to “poke” at it and it moved! I removed it and the relief was instantaneous. I don’t get other throat problems so anytime I see the stone, I just remove it and life moves on.

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  69. Ray Bazuaye

    I have removed several of these disgusting tonsil stone from deep inside my throat, but now I think I can’t get to it any more because they have gone deeper inside. It’s really disturbing me because I have the feeling of a foreign body in my throat all day and now it’s causing asore throat. Please, I need exact quick step to eradicating them. Thank you!

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    • Two of our readers have suggested natural, inexpensive remedies that have worked for them.

      1) Oil pulling — This is a very simple practice that’s been used historically and claims a variety of health benefits. Our reader claims that swishing coconut oil in the mouth for several minutes lubricates the tonsils and causes the tonsil stones to slip out on their own.

      2) Vinegar “tea” — Add one tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar in approximately 200ml water and drink once a day to treat infections of the mouth and throat. Our reader says this remedy caused the tonsil stones to disappear.

      You may have to repeat daily several days before you see a result. Either way, the treatments are easy.

      If you try either, please let us know the results.

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      • Iowan

        I drink 1/2 cup warm water daily with 1 T organic apple cider vinegar and 1 T honey – and I have constantly recurring tonsil stones.

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        • Cynthia

          Try rinsing your mouth /gargling with hydrogen peroxide after brushing. This works well for me.

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  70. chrissy

    I think mine are from dead cells, mucus, bacteria as the article says. As I was using a tongue scraper to clean my tongue tonsil stones started coming out the crevices. Ugh. Gross.

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    • Summer68

      Hi Chrissy,

      Tonsil stones is an awful condition. I’ve suffered with them for over 30 years with some doctors not even recognizing it. By chance I heard a broadcast on the radio approx. 4 months ago where the caller recommended a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar in approx. 200ml water to treat infections of the mouth and throat. I started to use this treatment and can truly give thanks that they have gone.

      My breath is no longer putrid and no more stones. I continue to take the apple cider daily and I have not cut anything from my diet. I’ve also noticed other benefits like better sleeping at night, and the condition and appearance of my skin.

      I take the apple cider at about 6pm. Please try this but please remember you must dilute it before taking. I am so happy I just want to share it with everyone who suffers with this condition.

      Summer68

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      • Dexter

        Summer68,

        Could you provide any more details on how you take the apple cider vinegar – can you just gulp the whole diluted drink down? Do you drink it slowly or swish it? Thanks for the remedy!

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        • Summer68

          Hi Dexter,

          Sorry for only just replying to your query but only saw it as I was browsing this site today. Please dilute the Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with warm water and drink normally, you do not need to gulp it down.If you find the mixture too astringent, just add a little more water.

          You can also leave a small amount in the glass to gargle your throat and swish around your mouth.

          The Cider Vinegar is an antibacterial and will freshen your breath.
          Please let me know of the outcome for you if you tried this method.

          All the best

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      • Cynthia

        THANKS! I’ll try your remedy and see if I can get rid of this once and for all!

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  71. marie

    Thanks for the article. I’m so glad for the reassurance that I won’t need surgury because of my tonsil stones.

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  72. lisha

    I understand this, but my tonsils have small to medium holes in them. Its only my right tonsil and I’m not sure if it can spread to the other tonsil. My other one now has line like scratches on it. I don’t know how to explain it, but it bothers me and I’ve had it for quite some time now. I will be going to get it checked out, but I would like to learn more because if I think some thing is wrong with me or my body I have a habit of searching and thinking of the worst and over educate. Oh and by the way, I am a 13 year old female.

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    • yo

      Hi Lisha,
      Try fasting (just drink water – preferably spring water or good filtered water) for 3-4 days. Sounds really hard but it’s not so bad after the first day. Stay home and rest as much as you can (do the fast during vacation/ weekend). It might help reduce the swelling and get the stones to pop out. Or you can try eating very very little like one small bowl of steel cut oatmeal for a few days and drinking a third cup of vinegar in the morning diluted 50/50 with water??? that might help??? Hope you figure it out.

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  73. Mathew Jackson

    Extremely helpful. I have bad teeth an suffer often tonsillitis. I have a huge stone lodged at back of my throat. It’s the size of a 2p english coin. I can’t dislodge it.

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    • Have you tried “oil pulling” as suggested by another reader? You put a very small amount coconut oil into your mouth and swish it around for up to 20 minutes. I know, this sounds like a long time, but the oil may work as a lubricant and make it easier to dislodge the stone. It’s non-toxic, non-invasive and several readers have reported that it worked for them. Good luck and please let us know if it helps.

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  74. JD

    I’ve successfully treated them with a combination of diet change and using q-tip to remove what is present. For diet, I cut out all sugar and sweets for a month. I find coffee to be like fertilizer for my tonsil stones so I no longer drink coffee of any kind. I can eat sweets after the stones are gone. I eat raw onion which for some reason helps – perhaps has some beneficial relationship to the tonsils. I also drink sage tea or take sage tincture. I feel this a natural way of healing my body.

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    • I think you’re onto something. Has anyone else experimented with changing the diet to reduce tonsil stones? Are there any foods you think make it worse (like onions for the commenter above). I wonder if different people have different triggers or perhaps the combination of deep crevices and a high sugar, high coffee diet are the perfect tonsil stone storm?

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      • lisa

        Dairy always make mine worse. When I cut out dairy, they often go away. I have also heard peppermint works .

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      • SGRL

        I had my tonsils out 2 months ago for this very reason and I thought that I was cured from it…NOT, I just found 3 tonsil stones in a crevis!!! I am devastated :(

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        • SG

          Oh no!! I am getting my removed for the same reason, how are you dealing with the tonsil stones now??

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      • Nicole

        When I eat anything with bread it doesnt effect me just yet, but when I wake up in the morning it looks like its been building up overnight.

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  75. Caleb

    Thanks so much! It is an embarrassing subject for some and can be difficult to bring up. This post has been invaluable thanks doc. Now that I am better informed I know the questions I need to ask!

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  76. jenny

    Before I used cotton buds but it makes me vomit because it touches my tonsil. Then my daughter suggested to use toothpick which you only prick or get the tonsil stone without touching your tonsil. It is very easy to remove, then once removed gargle with alcohol free mouthwash.

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  77. Shell

    I suffered with this for two years. I finally got a tonsillectomy and it was worth it. The healing process was painful. I lost 10 pounds that month as I could not eat. I developed oral thrush a few days post surgery. Talking was painful, so I walked with a dry erase board. It has been three years since this and I am so grateful that my ENT recommended surgery. I haven’t had any symptoms since. I hope this helps others make up their mind.
    Shell

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    • Michael J.

      You should have tried the little tool on Amazon.com, mentioned below!

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      • Dr. Phil

        LOL.. I immediately burst into laughter when I did a search at Amazon for this. This tonsil stone remover is actually an ear pick. If we search using “tonsil stones”, you’ll find the tonsil stone removal tool http://bit.ly/Expensivetonsilstoneremover for $16.38 (+$4.59 shipping cost). But if you search “ear pick”, you’ll also find the same device http://bit.ly/cheapearpick for just $1.63 (with free shipping), just 10% of the price for the tonsil stone remover. Same device, but once you give people the idea for a different and probably a better use, the value gets higher.. lol

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        • planet.PH

          Here in the Philippines, I bought two for US$0.88 yesterday but unfortunately didn’t work because the light was too bright when place inside the throat so I really couldn’t see much.

          Note: Here’s a photo that shows the tonsil stones and the the long-handled cotton swabs this person used to extract the stones. http://bit.ly/mytonsilstonesremoved

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    • Giraff59

      I too am deciding whether I want to have a tonsillectomy for this. Can I ask your age you were when you got it done?
      I love your dry erase board idea!
      Thanks!

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      • Kasey

        I was about 20 when I had my tonsils removed for this reason. I didn’t know about others suffering from this at the time. I picked the stones out starting from a very early age until they were just too bothersome to keep dealing with. I’m happy I got my tonsils removed.

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  78. Jacob Christiansen

    I’ve suffered for years – tried everything – the only thing that I’ve found that truly works is being proactive with removal. If you stay on it, your tonsils will become less swollen, which for me, resulted in the stones leaving completely for many months at a time (I will get them back and repeat).

    The best method for removal I have found is a little extraction tool with a light at the end that I found on Amazon. You can find it if you go there and search “tonsil stones”. Much better than anything else I have tried including cotton swabs and a flashlight, gargling, poking with your fingers, etc. It’s a clever/convenient little design for this purpose and well worth it!

    Hope this info helps you as it has helped me!

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    • Michael J.

      Thank you so much! This was BY FAR the best remedy!

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  79. Sydney

    Oh my gosh I just started getting these about a year or so ago after a really bad case of tonsillitis. My biggest issue is that I have such a bad gag reflex that I have never been able to extract them. I’ve tried everything but I just gag so badly every single time. So I just have to wait for them to come out on their own. My ENT told me the only way to get rid of them is get a tonsillectomy…but I’m very nervous about that since I heard the healing process is very extensive.

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  80. Gail Branch

    My granddaughter had her tonsils removed at 3. Sometimes her breathe is horrible. She is 13. Could she still be getting tonsil stones? Do the tonsils grow back?

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  81. Angie

    My daughter is 15 last year she had her tonsils removed but not the adenoids. Lately she’s been complaining of pain on one side of her neck on inside of her throat where they removed get tonsils so I looked and on the inside of her neck on the right side where the tonsil was removed she has a gaping hole it’s swollen and very painful. She says when she breathes she feels air going thru it. the doc put her on antibiotic but it doesn’t seem to be helping. Any suggestions what this could be? Thanks

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  82. Lunarblaze12

    I’m 17 and I’ve had these for a while now. I only recently found out what they were, about a year ago. My ENT doctor prescribed me some antibacterial medicine and the pill worked great both times, and he diagnosed me with tonsil stones. He’s scraped one out before, even, and it looked just like you described.
    The thing is, I’m getting surgery in 2 days, a tonsillectomy. I have terrible breath and sometimes an itchy feeling in my throat. And I knew it wasn’t my teeth; I brush very well and my ENT said my teeth were fine.
    I’m just really worried about this surgery. I know that getting a tonsillectomy is increasingly dangerous the older you get, and I hate the thought of the pain and of being put under. But the ENT said there’s nothing else to do, though he admitted that it might not completely get rid of my bad breath.
    I really hope it does….. And that I don’t get sick more often without my tonsils, as they are a defense against bacteria, viruses, and other harmful things.
    This is also my first surgery, so there’s that too…. And the fact I hate medicine and I’m going to have to take some to dull the pain after surgery.
    Well, wish me luck that I don’t die, that my bad breath goes away, and that it doesn’t make me get sick more often!

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    • Eva

      Lunarblaze, how did it go?

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    • susan

      you are 17 not 70. i am sure your doctor knows how to preform this simple procedure, it’s not heart surgery. i hate to think how you will act if something serious happens. take a painkiller, buy some mouthwash, and grow up.

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      • jen

        You’re right. She’s 17 not 70, nor does she have the life experience to deal with things beyond her scope of understanding. So instead of harshly telling her to grow up, I’m telling you to have compassion and possibly act your age.

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        • melanie

          right on!

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      • R Lynn

        What a rude person you are! All these comments are beneficial and relatable to readers then there’s always the ONE! PEOPLE LIKE YOU that choose to be disrespectful & mean aggravate me to my CORE! MAY YOU EAT YOUR WORDS ONE DAY & may they turn into the most rotten tonsil stones that ever existed on a human. Lol that thought just made me laugh. Don’t disrespect others like that no matter what their age is!

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  83. Lara

    I started getting tonsil stones in November of 2013 and was put on Penicillin on February of this year and I still have these lumps today… I started removing them myself last night and I am now left with big-ish holes, is this normal for tonsil stones? Also, I am left with one large stone that I think is responsible for ny constant sore throat… how long should I leave it before consulting a doctor? :(

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  84. Steph

    Hi. Thanks for your insight on this problem. I have read several articles which mention that tonsil typically reduce in size and issues reduce with age. Growing up I had frequent tonsils infections, typically where strep was found. I am almost 40 years old, and my tonsils are still quite large, and unfortunately, my tonsils do have crevises in them now, and I have now been getting tonsils stones consistently for the past few years in both tonsils. The stones are typically not painful, no sore throat, just annoying because it seems to be constant. My oral hygene is very good. Yesterday I worke up with my ear and tonsil quite sore on one side, and a day later, more stone pieces than usual came out of that tonsil. It is still a bit sore, and I’m wondering if there may be more in the tonsil, but also concerned about doing any potential damange. I am just wondering a couple of things.

    1) Is there any risk of putting pressure on the tonsils to extract these (e.g., can it push them back deeper and cause worse infection, or anything like that?). Do you need to be cautious about how much pressure to apply to the tonsils? Is this an effection that can spread elsewhere (e.g., lymph nodes/other)?

    2) Is there a scan or anything that can be done to check the tonsils for these stones or to check their overall health, or see if there is any concern?

    3) I really don’t want to remove my tonsils as I’ve been avoiding that for years. I saw mention that you can have laser procedure to smooth/close the crevises in the tonsils. How serious is this procedure and the recovery? Is it painful? And how effective?

    Thanks!

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  85. see mun Teh

    Hi, I really have Symptoms of Tonsilitisas, especially always spit out yellow stones and bad breathe , but I don’t see yellow stones around tonsil by using torch to check myself. I really don’t know where they hide. What should I do now? Thanks.

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  86. Siobhan

    I am 20 years old and have been dealing with tonsil stones for about 2 and a half years now.

    The first one I got was rather big, about 1cm. It was on my right side. A week later I got my second one, similar in size, on my left side.

    Since then I have had a few more come, most of them have been on my right side and I haven’t had one on my left side in a long time now.

    Over the past year or so I have had tonsil infections (always worse on the right side) about 5 times… And waiting them out has never helped. I would always wait until I couldn’t even swallow before going to the doctor. At that point I would end up on antibiotics and the pain would go away.

    Recently I got sick with bronchitis and was able to get better within a few days… Only to come down with a cold the very next day.

    Before getting sick with bronchitis I had a sore throat, it lasted throughout my bronchitis, throughout my cold, and even stayed after I was cleared up.

    Throughout that spurt of sickness I went to a walk in clinic 3 times (Twice complaining about my sore throats, concerned that it was staying for a long time). On the third visit my throat was swabbed for strep, and it came back negative. I even mentioned to the doctor that I knew it wasn’t strep and that leaving it alone would not solve the issue.

    Last night I was struck again with the tonsil stones, only in my left tonsil. I pushed them out, and everything else stuck inside. They were very tiny, and some weren’t even formed entirely. They were all a grayish brownish color which I have never seen before. Also inside was yellow and white mucus as well as blood. Yuck.

    I went and saw my family doctor today (she works at the walk in clinic that I go to) and she prescribed me antibiotics. Finally, relief. My tonsils are and have been infected once again. She also said they are very active. I have a follow up visit with her next week once the infection clears up. I’ve also noticed that above my tonsils, beside my uvula I have something hard under my skin, little bumps that feel like tonsil stones. Although I’m not sure they should be up there. I mentioned it to her and she is going to take a look next week.

    I know cancer and tonsil stones are in no way related, but the mucus and blood coming out of my tonsils is scaring me into believing I may have cancer as well.

    Most doctors won’t remove tonsils at my age, but I will continue to get tonsil infections, and eventually won’t notice improvement through antibiotics.

    What are the pro’s and con’s of having my tonsils removed in my situation?

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  87. Rachel Grantham

    This is the first helpful thing I’ve seen for this. I’ve had these stones come up every so often and it goes in spells. It feels great just knowing what it is. The thing is it’s not consistent enough to really determine if I should do something about it.

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  88. PJGU

    I have dealt with this for years off and on. I am fascinated to see how common it seems to be. I thought I was an oddity to get these as an adult. Mine tend to be in one side for a while, then a year later, they will suddenly decide they like the other side. Also oddly, I can go months with never getting them at all, then they will recur out of the blue for no reason that I can yet pin down. I noticed today that I have had a huge recurrence, and my throat is very sore with blisters on the affected tonsil. I cannot tell which came first in this case. Am I sick and the inflammation puffed up the tonsil and caused inflammation to trap food particles again….or did the tonsil stone cause the symptoms?

    I would like to know where one gets a “scraper”. I have used many home made tools over the years, from an oversized bobby pin stretched open ( the knobby ends are good for not injuring the tonsils), to the flat and slightly rounded ends of a dental mirror to press the tonsil. My tips are to always sterilize your tool with alcohol before and after working on the stones, never poke or dig too far in the tonsil, and gargle with lister one or a tea tree oil/peroxide rinse for a minute after poking around. I read one time that the tonsils sit right on the blood super highway that runs directly to the brain (thus the reason for the dangers of tonsillectomy surgery). I have always been mindful of that and try not to get an infection in that area from my prodding and to never cause it to bleed if at all possible.

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  89. Marissa

    Hello! First of all I want to thank you so much for the article! This is awesome and superb information for those of us suffering from this annoying ailment. My issue started about a year ago and I have seen about 2 ENTs, A gastroenterologist and my family practitioners numerous times this year and I still cannot find an answer to the annoying itchy feeling in the back of my throat. The ENT did say that I have crevices in my tonsils and I have been suffering from tonsil stones for awhile now but I did not know they were. However things have gotten worse because now I am reduced to eating foods that will not accumulate inside of the crevices which in turn end up in these stones…my problem is that before I did not notice them but now they bother me so much because they seem to be forming in an area that feels close to the upper part of my tonsil that feels connected to my inner ear. When I have the stones I get this horrible itchy sensation and it unbearable and I can only find relief when the stones are out but it takes forever for the stones to come out because the pocket is too deep and I really suffer for days. I also feel like I can hear crickets on that side of my ear as I feel this things are pushing up…it has come to the point where I use a Qtip to relief the itch in my ears and I kid you not, the stones come out with the pressure of the Qtip sometimes…are they that far into my tonsil? It seems like it. Now I can no longer eat foods like breads, rice or anything that could get lodged back there because it will form a stone and I will start that cycle all over again. My ENT doesn’t seem to think it is too serious to have tonsils removed because I do not get fevers or infections just this horrible itchy sensation. I also have post nasal drip and a combination of acid reflux and we are tackling both and I will not lie my symptoms go away when I stop eating the breads, the flours, the rices, but mainly the wheat, bread starches…etc…I am trying to figure out on whether I need to get my tonsils removed, but I’d rather find a doctor that is willing to minimize the crevices through surgery, I read about certain surgeries to do that but there seems to be not many ENTS interested in doing this at all. My only hope is that by changing my diet permanently the hole might get smaller and the stones will go back to becoming irregular when I eat regular foods. The other side effect that bothers me is the feeling that my ears are stuffed, it takes several minutes but then again I also have sinus issues so I got a combination of everything and I feel like there is no ending this…after a year, it depresses me and I just want a doctor that can help me. That is all I want, and they all seem to just blow me off. I do not know what to do anymore just to suffer in pain. Thank you anyway for the helpful tips and God willing I will survive this and one day look back and realize that it wasn’t as bad as I think it is…because right now it is a nightmare!

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  90. Donna Melton

    Thank you so much for this article and thank you to all the folks who have posted. I found it after coughing up another large gray stinky pebble. I’m 58. I am very large. I have lots of problems with allergies – having a flare now. My tonsils are huge. I tried to get my primary care doc to set me up for removal years ago after another bout of tonsillitis (never had it until I was 18). I never knew this things I hate had a real purpose. After reading the comments I’ve learned not to be ashamed (thought this was a weight issue) or embarrassed and that it is fixable. I’m out of work but between coughing up more of these and having feeling like swimmer’s ear for months I realized that despite having no insurance I need to have this looked at and get the stones removed as well as drastically improving my oral hygiene. Thank again Dr. Greene as well as folks who shared your own stories.

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    • k

      I would go to the dentist and ask for the prescription mouthwash for halitosis (chronic bad breath) it has a very mild amount of antibiotic that will kill any of the stuff growing in your throat, and help with the bad breath of course. when I’m using it consistently, my tonsil stones and sick symptoms decrease drastically. Plus as a bonus your mouth feels cleaner all day long.

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  91. pooja joshi

    dear doctor,
    my kids, a son 8yrs old n a daughter 3 1/2 yrs old,r very prone to throat infections..they get sore throat in every three mnths. wht precautions shld i take to prevent this recurrence….they get swollen tonsils n this condition of tonsil pearls also..it leads to high grade fever..i m a bit worried…my doc says it is due to low immunity…is that so…kindly guide! thanks!

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  92. Carli Anderson

    I’ve always had a problem with low grade sore throats, but I’d only recently been noticing the stones in my throat. I’ve been coughing them up more and more lately and it leaves me a little concerned.
    Also it makes eating popcorn annoying because I end up having the little kernel shells stuck and scratching up my throat.

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  93. Savanna

    I have tonsil stones in both tonsils. I have a hard time swallowing and can constantly feel then. They are at a point where I can no longer remove them. My neck and ears are constantly sore and my tonsils keep getting bigger. I tried everything and nothing seems to work. Is removing my tonsils realistic?

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    • Alan Greene

      Savanna, removing the tonsils may happen too often, but sometimes removing troublesome tonsils is the best answer. It’s worth considering. Difficulty swallowing (and breathing while asleep) can be very good reasons to get this done.

      An Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon (ENT) would be the person to do the job. I’m a fan of getting evaluated and asking for the pros and cons of both courses of action.

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  94. Guest

    Thank you so much for this post. Like many who have posted here, I too have been experiencing problems with halitosis. For over a decade, I have been going to dental hygenist, dentists and even seeing a specialist at a dental school. Suffice to say my teeth are probably cleaner than most and the periodental pockets which were thought to be the root of the cause have all but dissapeared.
    The problem still remained. Foul smelling breath! During this time I became less outgoing, more introverted. When I spoke I could see people recoil (but all were too polite to say what I knew). I spoke less, became depressed because I was unable to communicate effectively face to face. The psycological impact was definetly the hardest thing to deal with. Stagnated in the same job (although quailified and experienced enough to be doing more), no close friends (too self concious to relax and be around folks) and no intimate parteners.
    After stumbling upon this article perchance and reading tips on how to remove tosil stones, I had a go that same day. To my suprise, there were two large (0.8 and 1.0cm long) white / yellowish stones on the right hand side of my tonsil. Once removed using a teaspoon, I was curious to find what they smelled like. My word!! At that moment I understood why folks kept away. The next day I decided to test the waters at work by standing closer to people when I spoke and to my suprise no one backed off!
    I have mixed feelings at the moment, one of elation that I may finally have found what the problem is and how to deal with it and one of anger. During this time none of the professionals I paid good money to see mentioned the possibility that this may be the problem. Hell, 6 months prior to this, I called my dentist and broke down but was told there is more to life.
    Anyway I am probably venting in the wrong place. I have made and appointment with my dentist. The purpose? To ask why such a simple examination was never performed.
    Thank you all and wish you well.

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    • Alan Greene

      I’m sorry for what you’ve been through, but very glad you posted. I hope your story helps many others.

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  95. Morgan Musel

    Thank you so much for writing this, someone sited it on yahoo. I looked it up because it freaked me out that I routinely spat out little white stones. I’m glad it’s nothing serious, I do have one question though. How am I supposed to get them out other than gagging them up like I usually do?

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    • Alan Greene

      Morgan, I’m a fan of using an irrigator to wash the tonsils and/or a scraper to gently scrape them to get small stones out or to keep new stones from forming or getting too large.

      Manual irrigators may be more comfortable and less irritating for washing than electric ones, because the electric irrigators sometimes use too much pressure. Having said that, I do love my WaterPik.

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      • gina

        is it harmful when thy are swallowed???
        I cant remove them myself what else can I do and is their any medications that I can use??

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  96. Nic

    I have had tonsil stones for a few months now. I have heard if you remove the stones promptly, the holes get smaller gradually and get back to normal. I found this true but then life caught up with me and I forgot to irrigate. Now one of my tonsils feels really full, I can see the stone in a crevice but it just won’t come out. It’s not terribly painful but I do feel something in the back of my throat. A few months ago when I went to the doctor, he used a metal tool and stretched, poked, and prodded the holes to get stuff out. Now I feel like I have little caves in my tonsils. I would rather not have them removed but I’m at a loss for what to do. I’ve tried pushing them out with my fingers but it hasn’t worked. Suggestions? Help? If I figure out how to irrigate this bugger out, is it still possible that this problem can be resolved without surgery?

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    • Alan Greene

      Nic, the holes do usually get smaller gradually over time once the stones are out, and promptly removing any new stones can help keep the openings smaller. Even with ‘little caves’ in the tonsils there is hope for this getting better without surgery.

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    • yo

      fast for 3-4 days. Just water. Reduces inflammation pronto.

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  97. Chrystal @ Happy Mothering

    Great article. I had terrible tonsil stones and constant tonsillitis until I finally broke down and had my tonsils removed when I was 28. It was not a fun experience, but I don’t get sick nearly as often now.

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    • Dr. Alan Greene

      Thanks! And I’m loving your posts this week over on the Perspectives blog here.

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      • Chrystal @ Happy Mothering

        Absolutely. It was an honor to write a series for your guest blog!

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  98. Hestia Thomas

    Thank you. A very well written article

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