Treating Tonsil Stones

Treating tonsil stones almost never requires surgery, but when needed, treatment consists of either removing the tonsils or removing the calculi.


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

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.

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.

Last medical review on: October 31, 2014
About the Author
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Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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Recent Comments

i’m not sure what to do. i started poking my tonsils with a swab because i can tell the stones are there even if i can’t see them because of terrible bad breath and taste and my throat hurts a little, and a bunch of a little stones came out but it also spurted blood. now my tonsil is bleeding quite a lot and hurts and there’s a red thing poking out

Hi Aaron,

Bleeding is not good. If it continues, it would be wise to call your doctor and see what they think. In the meantime, it can be comforting, and help the healing process, to gargle with warm salt water.

I hope that helps.
Best, @MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

Hi, I’m an 18 year old girl who has been dealing with this things for years and could really use some advice right now. I happen to have major anxiety and a literal fear of choking/having something stuck in my throat. So all day I’ve had this massive stone that fell out and got caught in the back of my throat and now it’s stuck and won’t come out. I don’t think it helps with the fact that my tonsils are irritated anyway, but the more I focused on it, the more I started and am panicking about the feeling. I’m trying to calm down, but I’m so tired of dealing with these. Should I get my tonsils out??? I just feel stuck.

Hi Matson,

This sounds like a terrible situation. I’m so sorry.

Typically tonsil stones aren’t a good reason to remove tonsils. But in your case, I think it would be smart to talk with your doctor about your overall anxiety around choking and decide together if this might tip the scales in the direction of removal.

In the meantime, try swishing coconut oil in your mouth (and as far back in your throat as you can) to help relieve the pain and loosen up the tonsil stones.

I hope that helps.
Best, @MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

Hello. I’ve been feeling like something is in my throat for months now. I feel like I have phlegm in my throat. I’ve also been coughing up white smelly balls. They give me bad breath. I’ve tried to gargle salt water but it hasn’t been working.

Hi Raini,

That sounds a lot like tonsil stones. I hope you can follow the tips in this post to get rid of them.

BTW — some of our readers also recommend “oil pulling” which is pretty simple. Just put a spoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish for as long as you can. It may coat the throat and help the stone slip out.

I hope that helps.
Best, @MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

Hello! I just got a tonsil stone about a day or 2 ago and I’ve been trying to get it out because it’s really bothering. I’ve tried gargling salt water a few times and I tried to get it out with a toothbrush but it doesnt work. It feels like a pretty large one and when I open my mouth I cant see it? It feels like it’s in my throat. How do I fix this! The feeling is very uncomfortable and I can barely sleep sometimes due to it.

I am 14!

Hi Jewel,

This sounds really uncomfortable. If the stones don’t come out easily, it might be because the area is swollen, and continuing to try to remove them will just make matters worse. Try gargling with warm salt water several times a day. It may be wise to stop trying to remove them and to give your throat a rest before trying to remove them. After your throat as healed a bit, you might try swishing coconut oil in the mouth for a few minutes to lubricate the area so the stones come out more easily. Have you tried this technique?

I hope that helps.
Best, @MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

I’ve been getting headaches and earaches and dizziness associated with these stones. Also when I take the stone out my tonsils bleed. Is this normal? Should I be concerned with the headaches and ear aches?

Hi Cassie,

How concerning for you.

Making your throat bleed is not good. Other commenters here have suggested holding coconut oil in your mouth for several minutes to help loosen the stones. Some say they fall out after using this approach. Others suggest you may still need to apply light pressure next to the stones before they pop out. But digging them out can lead to bleeding is not ideal.

Some of our readers have commented that their stones are linked to specific foods. Others have indicated that it’s an oral microbiome issue that can be addressed with an open-minded dentist. Certainly, reducing the formation of tonsil stones is preferred to finding better ways to extract them once they’ve formed.

Have you discussed the headaches and earaches with your doctor and dentist? Are you sure they are related to the tonsil stones? If so, finding ways to deal with the stones may make the headaches and earaches go away.

I hope that helps.
Best, @MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

For two days I tried to get my tonsil stoned out, but have not been successful. I started bleeding after trying to get it out with a cotton swap. It’s in such an unfortunate place. Should i worry that it bled?


I hope your throat has healed from the bleeding by this point. Of course it’s not ideal to make yourself bleed. Other people have commented that swishing coconut oil in the mouth for a few minutes helps to lubricate the area so the stones come out more easily. Have you tried this technique? Also, if the stones don’t come out easily, it might be because the area is swollen and continuing to try to remove them will just make matters worse. It may be wise in that situation to give your throat a rest before trying further to remove them.

I hope that helps.
Best, @MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

I had these for years during elementary school into junior high school. Never did get a proper diagnosis even after providing doctors with the horrible samples id save after popping them out. They never caused me much trouble except the constant feeling of something being stuck back there and of course the horrible smell…i finally used plastic knitting needles to remove them. They are smooth..blunt…easily sterilized…and thin enough that my sensitive gag reflex got used to them quickly. If gently pull them down to pop them out if they were big enough or use a big fat blunt knitting needle to push around the sides to try and pop it out like a pimple sort of. Eventually in my late teens they just went away and never came came back. Still have my tonsils and still have larger pits…i did get more sore throats and strep as a young child and young adult than most people I knew but now that I’m 40 I don’t remember having a sore throat in like 15 or 20 years. Suffer a bit when young to enjoy stronger immunity when old? I dunno…. but as soon as you can see and feel those gross little cheese balls pop em out with a knitting needle lol.

Hello, so I’ve unfortunately been on a very bad energy drink addiction. And I kind of feel like they’re the cause for my tonsil stones. I’m sure even the “sugar free” drinks can still cause them. If this is the reason, it’s even MORE of a reason to end this addiction. I’ve been dealing with them since October. It’s messing with my life! I’ve stopped going to the gym because of my worrying too much. Some days it’s ok, some days I just want to sleep all day so I don’t have to deal with it. So if the energy drinks are the main reason, then it all makes sense.

I’m 56 and still get chronic tonsillitis with constant tonsil stones. My tonsils vare constantly enlarged and inflamed band have nonstop tonsil stones. I’m too old for a tonsillectomy and I have a large valecular cyst that swells up and blocks my airway. No ent will touch me with a ten foot pole due to my age and possible complications.

I need to be on antibiotics for life but they cause me to have heart spasms and angina.

How do I keep the swelling down and keep the tonsil stones from forming ?

Fun fact. Most people who have their tonsils removed don’t regret it. But MANY adults who never got the opportunity wishes they were removed as kids. Trapping rotting food in my throat is NOT good for my health. And most people’s minor health issues need get cleared up without tonsils. They may have been key to the immune system one day but not anymore. I’m 28 and never had issues with my tonsils but now out of nowhere I’ve been getting tonsils toned constantly. Noticing that my throat is sore (and often has been) and randomly can get my gag reflex triggered at times. It’s like there’s a gaping hole in the back of my throat but the stones are too far down to be able to scrape out. I’m gonna set an appointment for an ENT doctor and basically beg them if there’s any way to get these suckers removed (the tonsils themselves). I literally can’t even eat without stuff getting stuck in there.


That sounds horrible. I hope you find a successful treatment!

Best, @MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

Dear Fellow Tonsil Pearl Bearers,
Thank you all SO much for your courageous sharing. I have had these little white things since I was 16; now I am 54. I am so “OCD” about getting them out, they’ve never given me a sickness. However, I have been fearful of having bad breath my whole life. As others have stated, I feel my problem has caused me fear of intimacy.
All of you, with your kindness and support, have made me feel Not Alone! That is a very valuable feeling.
My crypts are way back behind my tonsils. They are hard to keep clean, but I try to “irrigate” them every morning and every night, right after I brush and floss my teeth. Your ideas have been very helpful and I am planning to buy an irrigation syringe and one of those “scooping” tools. Best of luck to us ALL!
Tiffany :)

I’m 57 and going through the same problem! The ENT hasn’t offered to take them out but I’m scared to death!

I’ve been getting tonsil stones on and off for about a couple of years now and usually they are small and “fall” out on their own, but these last couple days I have had a massive one that refuses to come out. It looks as if it’s lodged directly into my tonsil! It is slightly irritating and I cannot get it to budge before my gag reflex will kick in. It’s now starting to turn a grayish tint in one spot and my breath is just absolutely terrible!! Should I consult a doctor at this point? Desperate for answers and help.

For years I thought and even numerous dentists thought, I had TMD on the left side of my jaw. My left ear would hurt on and off, and it occasionally felt clogged. I even had a “supposed cavity” which was only looked at by a dentist (no X-ray) in the very back upper left molar filled. It was my first and only cavity. When the filling didn’t help with the pain, I was given instructions on how to manage TMD and told of other options. Anyway, one night I was eating on my right side and had a terrible stabbing pain occur on that right side. I felt something in the way in the back of my throat. When I looked back at the right tonsil, I saw an obvious white looking deposit on it. So I researched info online on how to work it out, and I was able to release numerous tonsil stones on that right side. Once I was done, I had a huge WHAT IF moment about my left side and my never ending jaw pain. Sure enough, after poking at my left tonsil, many tonsil stones came to the surface and relieved my ear/jaw pain almost immediately!

This is amazing! I don’t feel so alone after reading these comments. I have had these little guys as long as I can remember, but never realized what they were until about 2 years ago when after a cold I developed a cough that continues to this day. It seems especially bad after I’ve had a cold but I’ll have these little cheesy chunks just work their way loose. It feels awful, like I have a sore through or like I swallowed something that stuck in the back of my throat and then I know that one has gotten particularly large until it comes out. I just had one cough its way out today. I also notice that it’s gotten much worse and much more persistent now that I need to wear a night guard to sleep to protect me from my teeth grinding. I have tried q-tips, my fingers, and the little rubber tooth claw you get with the drug store tooth scaler kits, as well as my water pic, but they are all so unpleasant, and I have yet to be successful in dislodging one. Usually I just give up and wait for it to get coughed up, but I’m sure there are more back there growing in the darkness. Drinking A LOT of water seems to help, but I haven’t tried all the vinegar potions you guys have mentioned. Maybe I’ll try that next. Anyone have success with any normal mouthwashes? Thanks everyone!

Try taking vitamin B for the teeth grinding. It helped me.

I agree! Used to believe I was the only one and I would be so embarrassed. I also normally get them when I will have a cold or very runny/stuffed up nose. Some people try to massage their throat and then purposely hack to try to loosen it up, but recently I’ve been struggling to remove a large one! Nothing seems to work.

I use a stainless steel blackhead removal tool to dislodge my tonsil stones. I’ve had the stones forever. I have been self treating for about a year with this method I started with Qtips and worked on controlling my gag reflex to the point I was comfortable putting a piece of metal into my tonsil crevasses without gagging. You need to just check once a day when you floss and I find sticking my tongue out and using a flashlight helps me see deeper into the crevasse.

This has been an ongoing problem for me for the last 4 or 5 years. I’m just now finding out what it was after multiple trips to the doctors office. WTF. I finally decided to scrape one out with my finger nail and that’s how I realized it was some white chunk chillin in my tonsil. I have no idea why I get these. I have amazing oral hygiene. BUT the guy who mentioned soda popped a question in my head. I don’t drink soda but I do drink red bull on a daily basis. The carbonation actually tends to relieve the pressure from the stones, or when I have a soar throat in general. Could energy drinks be a thing as to why?

They could contribute. The sugar gives bacteria fuel, which in turn means that there are more to colonize on any particulate matter faster. It wouldn’t be the sole reason, but it could definitely contribute. Also, do I know you?

Would dilute lemon juice dropped on the stone help?

About a week ago I was removing a tonsil stone that was quite deep, and I had to repeatedly press hard, and my tonsil bled a bit. I’m noticing now that that side of tonsil now sticks out more (I can see the crevices where before I couldn’t). My throat feels fine, I don’t have a fever, and I’m not in any pain. Do you think I did permanent damage?

I had this happen to me as well, my tonsils are fine now though, I think you just caused swelling by adding too much pressure. Kind of like when you drop something on your foot. It’s your body’s natural defense mechanism. Swelling occurs because your body thinks it needs to protect itself. Has your tonsil returned to normal?

Did you get an answer to your question? I have the same issue

Wanted to share my experience with tonsil stones in case it might help someone else.

I’ve had them off and on since I was in my early teens. At first I had no idea how to remove them or what caused them to form. I’ve found the best method to be washing my hands, and then reaching a pinky back there to massage the tonsil until the stone comes loose. I’ll open my mouth wide and use my phones LED flashlight to monitor my progress. When I see it coming free of the pocket, I can usually hock it up and spit it out. It took about a year to overcome my gag reflex. Two decades have past since I first started getting them and I’m now about 90% successful in removing them when I try, sometimes they’re just too small or sticky.

I’ve also discovered the primary cause of my tonsil stones, but I can’t say this will be the same for everyone. Throughout my twenties, I began to consume less and less soda. And over time, I noticed that there is a strong correlation between soda consumption and tonsil stone formation. Through experimentation, I’ve found that one soda per month was okay. But if I consume soda on consecutive days, I’d likely develop a tonsil stone. I’m at a point now that I only have one can of soda every other month or so. And the frequency of tonsil stone formation has been reduced to one every 6 to 12 months.

So it may be worth analyzing and considering changes in your diet if you’re plagued with tonsil stones. It has helped me a lot.


That’s so interesting. Does other sugared food and drink cause tonsil stones for you? Do non-sweetened carbonated drinks, like sparkling water, cause them?

Inquiring minds want to know!


I don’t understand how we can send a man to the moon, tuck tummy’s in to make them flat, even add hair plugs for people with thin hair but we can’t find a fix for this disgusting problem!! It’s so frustrating because it doesn’t have anything to do with good oral hygiene. I have healthy gums and teeth, I floss and gargle twice a day and I still have this issue. Any ENT’S out there reading this thread, PLEASE find a cure for tonsilloliths, tonsil stones, nasty smelly objects, or whatever you want to call them. There has to be a way get rid of them through medication or even surgery that isn’t so painful and requires 3 weeks off from work! I volunteer to be your guinea pig!

It doesn’t take 3 weeks off from work. I got the operation done in my late teens because I was sick of being a victim and took the plunge. It took a few hours, I barfed after because during the operation you’re lying down and tend to swallow considerable amounts of blood (nice). But after that it was a breeze. It wasn’t even as bad as getting my wisdom teeth removed. Just did some salt water gargles and refrained from eating hot soup. Trust me, I am an adult now and I can’t imagine having to go through life with this disgusting problem. When I told my partner I used to have these he freaked out and is really glad I don’t anymore.

Start taking Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar. 1 tablespoon 2X’s a day, not strait! Add to either a mix of natural hunny and filtered water or i use 1/4 cup cranrasberry juice, add 1 tablespoon Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar drink fast and rince your mouth. Don’t use cheep store apple cider vinegar, you have to use the one with “whole mother”

Gluten free diet has eliminated mine! If I accidentally ingest gluten, I’ll get a tonsil stone the next day. Worth a try!

I too suffered with tonsil stones I would flush them out with a plastic syringe with a curve on the end. I would push them out with my finger. I had a waterpik and would use that, but that has a powerful stream and hurts and makes them bleed. My mom also had the exact same issue. We both had tonsillectomy’s. That was over 10 years ago and neither one of us have had a problem since. Not only did I have tonsil stones in my tonsils but they were in my adenoids also. The recovery wasn’t pleasant for me, my moms wasn’t as bad and she was in her 50’s. It took care of a big problem, I’d do it again if I had too.

Did you find green stones in your adenoids? I just did and I’m a bit more disgusted and worried than usual

I am 21 years old i have tonsil stones since last 3, can i get rid of from tonsil stones .. please tell the perfect treatment to cure tonsil stones.. please

A really good, good way to get rid of tonsil stones would be to take really, good care of your teeth, floss, and brush at least two times a day for two-three minutes. If you do this, then gargle with salt water or regular water and make sure it reaches the back of your throat. Also, you could do this after you eat because tonsils stone are also food that has been collecting back there.

I think I have tonsil stones but my mom thinks I’m just overreacting. My ears constantly pop, my throat is itchy, and I get fairly big stones that come out of my throat. Sometimes when I cough one just comes up and out of my throat. What do I do?

You need to show her pictures of them and then tell her too look in the back of your throat. Fairly big stones are actually dangerous! They can clog up you throat and stop you from breathing. You need to tell her to schedule a doctors appointment.

Have you shown your mom the stones that come out of your mouth? It’s hard to deny when you see and smell one!

TONSIL TERD or Tonsil Trash let’s not be pc or med correct. Let’s call theses little vile filthy nasty things what they are. I have had this problem mildly my whole life due to tonsillitis 7 and being a mouth breather. At that time a dentist told my mom to have removed in 1987 but she said no. FAST FAORWARD & the last FOR FOUR years I have had an awful taste in my mouth. I don’t have someone who loves me enough( like some of you, luckys, do) that would tell me my breath stink but I knew it stank! So for four year I tried one thing after another : mouthwashes, flossing with fidelity, brush, tongue scrapers, oil pulling( gargling), salt /baking soda water gargling, netti pot, essential oils, water pic, guided breathing mediations, strictly nosing breathing, lypatic face & neck messages, saline…These last 4 year I have spent alot time pregnant 2 babies here and one in heaven… My body has had alot changes , my health took a back seat and I allowed myself to eat mainstream, while I learned to care for babies… BUT LAST NIGHT AFTER I PUT THE BABIES TO BED, I had enough… 4 years of using a flash light to look and gently brush the back my mouth with a tooth brush, scraping with tongue scraper, and or a dental mirror tool to gently lossen the tonsil terds, when I saw them on the surface ever so often…. Back up for 3 weeks I have had a sore throat and cough. Than last week stomach virus… just laying the ground work to say all this poking, prodding, gaggging, coughing, vomiting, pain, sickness had made this sleep deprived momma pretty battle tough….so back to last night. I was so tired of this and it has been a physical / spiritual issue for me, too. I got my flash light and looked in my mouth trying to see where the spot that hurt is and where I felt as if something was stuck in the back of my throat. This is where I have a hard time sometimes JUST CORRECTLY locating the pain or the area where something feels “stuck”.I really only have one tonsil left on the back right side. I shinned the light on that FREDDY KROUGGER looking tonsil that has haunted me for years, try to press on it with the opposite side of the cheap plastic dental mirror and something kinda emerged from one of the craters but went back in after I let the pressure up. AFTER BEING TOLD TO KEEP MY HANDS OUT MY MOUTH MY WHOLE LIFE I SNAPPED. I poked my (clean) finger and flash light in my mouth I pushed on the tonsil and it came out…I was gagging, my nose was running, my eyes were crying… I WAS ALL IN AND IT WAS ON! NO GOING BACK..I started pressing on everything in the back my mouth. I was feeling around, I found the where my tongue attaches to my throat and under my tongue, I found where my sinus and inner ear holes have an opening by my tonsils, I found the back side of my tonsil, I found the darkside of the moon, I feel down the rabbit hole, I squeezed on the dangly thing on the roof of my mouth, I found a hole behind that dangly thing, I did not stop there, I moved on to the left side, I was gagging,, heaving, spitting, in pain but then I touched the top right side my mouth above the sinus opening and TONSIL TERDS came out, I did on the other side and more came out. I pressed all over my tonsil and more came out!!! I was cringing, crying, bleeding, coughing, vomiting, screaming: LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO (in my head of course cause I did not want to wake the babies) At that point I just felt like I had a face cave/hole for 37 YEARS BUT that I was exploring for the first time and I CLEANED HOUSE. AND THAT FOLKS IS HOW YOU GET RID OF”EM. but you gotta be sick and tired of being sick and tired until your finally willing to do this. And then you go google ” I pressed on my tonsil” and find this thread. I hope I helped you and I will post what comes next.

That had me laughing out loud. That was hilarious ! Thank you for posting.

To keep them at bay, use a mix of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar, i mix in an orange juice size glass, add 1 tablespoon ACV and cranrasberry juice, drink fast and rince your mouth out. Do every day! Or twice a day!

Hey “Look what you made me do”;

I am going to have to say in the midst of dealing with this, I loved your post and it made me laugh.

I have a question for the Dr. and everyone experiencing this. You can email me directly at irentnatomas (at) yahoo (dot) com.

I have had these nasty little suckers all my life. Never caused me any pain really but I could tell when one was building up and within a day usually coughed it out, leaving my finger smelling like rank crotch!

I just turned 52 and was confirmed post-menopausal. Along with all the other lovely symptoms (you men don’t realize all the fun stuff we go through as this menopause stuff is no joke) this throat thing came up.

I went in as thought I had strep. I had like a needle poking feeling in the right side of my throat, shooting ear pain (intermittent), etc. I also had what looked like white heads (only a few) right next to my tonsils. I looked in my throat and could not see anything. She put me on antibiotics and nothing changed.

Finally I poke and I have pulled out no less than 15 of these and they are DEEP! I find a few daily but my issue is this:

1. Do these cause a glass like feeling in your throat? It does not hurt to swallow (in fact it feels good to eat hard stuff as it kind of scratches the itch), my lymph nodes are not swollen in fact she said either were my tonsils, no fever I just have this constant pokey feeling and it still effects my ears from time to time.

I do not want to go to an ENT as keep praying it will just go away.

Please tell me this is part of having tonsil stones and not cancer! I am freaking out as I have never had these things linger like this.

I was told being menopausal will dry out your mouth and the antibiotics probably are making it worse.

Doctors are like used car mechanics anymore. I don’t trust any of them as they part you out, take guesses and drain your bank account with no solution!

Let me know if this sounds like a normal symptom of stones or should I legit be worried.

So have those suckers come back yet? If not Iam willing to try what you did

That’s the most honest & hilarious look at this problem- EVER! Thank you.

I’m with you 100%!!! I spent years picking them out with a metal nail file. Thought for sure I had throat cancer. Doctors told me there was nothing to be done and I should use mouthwash for the smell. Well, due to a million other issues, I started following a Paleo diet and as a side effect, they WENT AWAY!!! I have been on and off elimination diets many, many, times (very hard to stick to!) and I know FOR SURE that mine are caused by dairy. When I eat a lot of dairy, my nose and sinuses get all full of phlegm and right away I develop stones. When I stop eating it for a week or two, they go away. Simple as that for me. It may not be dairy for everyone – could be another food – but it is DEFINITELY not anything to do with oral hygiene. That’s a BU#$%T answer from doctors who don’t think diet is related to health! Try a strict elimination diet to see if they go away, then slowly introduce things to try to find the culprit. Good luck.

For me excluding certain foods has made all the difference in the world. It took me many years to figure out what was causing this. Doctors were of no help including ENT’s, general practitioners, and allergists. I even had ear surgery when a surgeon convinced me my hearing loss was caused by otosclerosis. It was not! I collected the stones in a bottle to convince my doctor this was real. He said, “that’s disgusting, don’t show me that!” And, offered no help. Needless to say, that was the last time I went to him. I then went on an elimination diet just as determined and savage as your “house cleaning.” What I found was that not eating cashews, macadamia nuts, pistachios, and anything with wheat (gluten) prevented the stones from forming. The difficult thing is that the reaction to these foods generally occurs a day or two, or three ….. after consumption, not immediately. But, now that I know what they are, it is an absolutely consistent response.
I hope that my experience can be of help to others desperately searching for answers to this horrible problem. Of course, it is almost certain that others are responding to different triggers.

Omg! Dying laughing here just because it sounds like we are in the same boat. I’ll have to check near sinuses though later. But coughing, spitting, drooling, gagging, yep! That was me. Lol! Thanks for making light of this crappy situation and making me laugh:)

Thank you!!!!!!!!

Hi! I am sorry to read about the agony your are going through. I have had stones for 56 years but didn’t know what they were until about 8 months ago. I recently found two very promising natural remedies that I want to share with you all.

The first remedy I’ve been using for about a week now and it has drawn tonsil stones out, naturally. I dilute apple cider vinegar with warm water, and with a water pic, I put that solution into the pockets of the tonsils. This solution dissolved the softer stones as well as flushes more solid ones out. As with you, I too have a “Freddy Kruger” looking tonsil that I have mangled from poking with the water pic.

The second remedy I’ve just used the first time tonight. It is called “oil pulling”, and it is a multi-century old solution. Look it up for directions but I’m excited that I found this.

Lastly, I was scheduled for a tonsillectomy in Feb but will call the doctor tomorrow to cancel. If these remedies work like they indicate, I will save lots of money, time, and headache. The doctor told me it would be a week to recover, but the more I read over the weekend, I realized they were not very truthful. And, since i was leaving for two back to back vacations in late Feb and March, I didn’t want to be stuck not eating native foods. So do your homework, but first check out the vinegar and coconut oil.

I also drink vinegar tea two to three times a day. This helps with diluting the thick phlym in the back of my throat. I make a very diluted concoction of vinegar and water with honey and drink sip on it while it’s hot.

I wish you all luck and I hope we all can find more natural remedies.

Question! Even though tonsils are removed can stones still develope in the tissue that is left? Meaning the area tissue that the tonsils were once attached?
My friend just coughed up a rough edged, calcium looking stone.
He called me immediately being that I’m a Dental Hygienist, and asked if I knew what it was. I’m telling you it looks like a calcium type stone.

I had my tonsils removed at 16, I am now 52 and for the 1st time experiencing tonsil stones in the tissue where the tonsils were located prior to tonsilectomy. I am freaking out about this little hole in the side of my throat that when I push on it, stones pop out. My throat hurts me, lymph nodes ache, bad breath and I’m grossed out. So to answer your question, yes you can get these stones after having tonsils removed. Question is, can we get rid of them now?

Well written article!

very easy and clear convincing explanation

Great article! So exceedingly helpful! Although, I never had stones as a child but started getting them as an adult. It’s strange that the majority of the article is about kids and their susceptibility to this illness….yet, there are so many adults who’ve fallen prey to the tonsil stone spell.

Is it possible that gaining weight has made my throat have more crevices, creases, & folds for trapping these food particles? I unfortunately gained about 100 lbs when I quit smoking and wonder if the weight is the reason for the stones. I noticed that I get them a few days after eating tortillas, lol. Ik that sounds weird but was wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience.

Lastly, people, please don’t make your throat bleed if you can help it. You have a lot of staph in your throat and wouldn’t want it getting into your blood stream. Trust me, a staph infection is much worse than the annoying discomfort from some tonsil stones.

I have found this article very helpful!… I have in recent time had my wife complain my breath had become smelly, despite frequently brushing up to four times a day!…. I coughed a sugar puff looking thing that was so smelly. This being the culprit! Thanks 🙏

Anyone have any tips to dislodge the ones you cannot see? My neck is sore and I can feel something at the base of my tongue, but I get them in the bottom and backs of my tonsils where you cannot see them 😕
This issue is so aggravating.

I have this problem as well. I know they are there because I can feel them, but I can’t ever find them. Like, ever!

Hi JC,

Thanks for writing in.

One of our readers suggested “oil pulling”. Have you tired that?

Best, @MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

I am almost 34 years old and have been dealing with tonsil stones and bad breath caused by tonsil stones for about 25 years. PLEASE get treatment for your children so they do not have to deal with this for decades like me. My wonderful husband doesn’t give me any grief about any of it, thank goodness. If the tables were turned, I’m sure I’d find it extremely off-putting, though clearly not his fault.

Ever 1-2 weeks I can feel and/or taste the tonsil stones and I go through the arduous ritual of trying to poke them out with my fingers and then dealing with aftermath for the next 30 minutes and about 5-10 tissues each and every time. I’ve watched and read countless tutorials on how to extract them by other means, but none of it works. Everything, including my fingers, causes a terrible gag reflex. Once the stones are removed (and I’m certain I never get all of them), I am left gagging and coughing up bloody phlegm for the next 20-30 minutes.

I have been told by my brother that my breath is “funky” despite doing everything I can possibly due to keep the stones under control. I’ve been to a couple doctors when I was younger and they dismissed it, not even knowing what tonsil stones were. Later in college or in my mid 20s an ENT told me they were tonsil stones and the only way to rid myself of them and my excessive mucus (seemingly brought on by milk products and sugary products (either refined or naturally occurring such as in fruit) was a tonsillectomy.

Therabreath products work very well, but DO NOT BE FOOLED into buying the HydroPulse Sinus Irrigator. It is nothing more than an electric version of the neti pot, though it’s marketed to relieve symptoms of post nasal drip and tonsil stones. No, it’s just a sinus irrigator, marketed to sound like a stream of water used to blast the stones directly out of your tonsils.

I am one of those people who constantly suffers from sore throats and sinusitis and should have probably had my tonsils removed as a child. It would have saved me from this constant battle for the past 20 years and who knows how many more years. I figured my tonsils must be excessively large for my age, but they are not. I am now looking into laser smoothing as a more realistic alternative.

For what it’s worth, I also have a lot of trouble breathing out of my nose and have always had the fear of being kidnapped and my mouth taped shut as I would almost surely suffocate. Breathe through your nose when exercising? Forget about it. I would pass out. I don’t know if this is a deviated septum issue or something else, but my sister just had a turbinate reduction and said it has helped her breathing immensely. For the first time in her 30 years, Vicks VapoRub actually DOES something. Imagine that…I’ve never had it do a darn thing. We’re the type of people who have to apply it directly inside our nose and on our upper lip to get any effect and she said that has changed.

2017 is a new year with new insurance. As my son just had to go to the ER 2 days ago, I’m sure at least 1/2 our deductible will be met and I will hopefully get the ENT treatment I have needed for so long. And maybe also answers to mine and my son’s dairy allergies.

What is Therabreath? I have purchased a water pick…all that does is make my tonsils bleed. I get them in the back of my tonsils where I can feel them but cannot see to get them out. This is so aggravating.

My exact story!!!!!

Hi everyone,

Im back just to update you about my case, hopefully will help for many others. I have been taking care of my oral hygien 2-3 times brushing my teeth with tongue scraper, plus once a day flosing, trying to drink more water. But all this are normal things that we should and probably we are all doing it everyday. One thing that i add plus is gargling with 2-3 spons soda bicarbonat mixed with 1/2 L warm water, the doctor i saw it 2 months ago recommended and it works for me (i also add a bit salt). I was gargling everyday after brushing my teeth, at the begining as many times a could, but later once/ twice after brushing my teeth and change was noticed. My husbans was confirming that he doesnt feel bad breath. Now, we just came back from 2 weeks vacation, and of course i was not gargaling there and he noticed the bad breath is coming back, but just a bit. So, this gargling helps, but i guess has to be a part or our daily routine and hygine, which for me is perfectly fine 😀 Good luck


Thanks for the tip!

If anyone else tries this, please report back.

Note: I answer a lot of questions on, I am the co-founder of, Dr. Greene’s business partner and wife, but I am a not doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

Lovely explanation Dr. Greene.

my son is 5 yrs old.He has an enlarged tonsil.No fever.No pain but when he sleeps he snores and cannot sleep well.he breaths with his mouth only when asleep.he has slight ear pain.He has difficulty in eating food and swallows food with water even for porridge.we have tried many treatments with many doctors but with no improvement.They say that surgery is required but my baby is small and i dont want a surgery.This problem arosed 7 months back. we are in great trouble.please help my child.

“They” Who are they? If surgeons familiar with your child’s problem, then why not listen to them? Did you discuss this in detail or were you in a rushed, no time to discuss anything situation?
My grandson had to have the equivalent of a straw inserted in his neck due to a birth defect. He was small, it went well. These days really small babies–those in the womb–are getting surgery.
I’d guess that an inability to eat would, long term, be more harmful that not treating the problem.
If you don’t trust your medical advisors, get some you do trust. Docs who have plenty of experience in the problem.
Lastly, I hesitate to ask, and do this not in a sense of casting blame, but as a means of helping you figure out what is really best and do-able for your baby—what is the real problem here? What are you really afraid of? Does your financial, religious, personal situation have to do with your unwillingness/inability to accept surgery as an option. I love babies and know how hard it is to grow up healthy and well in our dis-functional society. I wish you and baby all good outcomes.

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.

NO! DO NOT DO THIS!!! I took antibiotics and ended up in the hospital almost dead from a disease called C Diff., and I am very young. And I took probiotics with it! You NEVER want to take antibiotics for something like tonsil stones! Just adjust your diet to remove dairy and sugar. Drink more water. You can also use a pore blackhead extractor to remove the stones if you’re squeamish. I do this regularly after sanitizing the tool and it works like a charm, using a handheld mirror and flashlight as well.

I was also getting the yellow smelliest curds in my tonsils where I had large pits in my tonsils. I could some time squeeze them out with a q-tip. They looked liked cottage cheese and they smelled absolutely horrible. I kept going into a ears, nose, and throat specialist. He put me one antibiotics ever six months. It would help for a short period like 2 weeks. I decided to get another opinion from a ears, nose, throat specialist. He told me he needed to remove my tonsils because there was several crevices and ask me if I got a lot of strep throat when I was young and I told him yes. He said because of them that it scares the tonsils and created the holes for bacteria (the yellow stinky curds look like cottage cheese). He said tonsils needed surgery. They needed to be removed. He removed them. I have been free from the horrible smelly breath. Every one of my sisters also had them. I’m so glad my doctor removed them and at that time I was 45 years old.

Hi Radica,
You’ve done a tremendous amount of research! Good for you!

Just wanted to respond to your question about treating post-nasal drip. I had it for several years until a doctor gave me prescriptions for Nasonex, Asthmanex,and Zopinex, and told me to take all three of them as directed. Within 3-4 days, my post-nasal drip cleared up, and I’ve had it only once or twice in the last 10 years.

After it cleared, I also began to see a pattern regarding what was causing it: any food or drink that had a tendency to increase the mucus in my system. So, for example, milk (or at least, a lot of it) was a big no-no. Whenever I felt like the “drip” was coming on, I’d do whatever I could to “dry” my system out.

Just my experience — Hope it helps!

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.


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

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?

Eva, do you eat a lot of Taco Bell or just tortillas on general? I’ve noticed that I get the stones a few days after I’ve eaten something with tortillas, usually flour tortillas but sometimes wheat. I was wondering if anyone else noticed this correlation. Idk, maybe it’s just me, lol.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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!

Great tip! Thank you so much for sharing!

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?

Susan, I have never actually gotten the stones “in” my tonsils…I don’t even think that’s possible, but I have gotten them above, under, and all AROUND my tonsils. I’ve even gotten them in other weird folds or creases in tyke back of my throat. I suppose they can form anywhere back there considering they’re simply food that became lodged & stuck & is beginning to grow its own zip code of bacteria, lol.

I do want to warn all of these ppl who say they keep digging the stones out & making themselves bleed….be careful! There’s an awful lot of staph in your mouth at all times, especially in your throat. You DO NOT want it getting into your blood stream by a cut that you made trying to remove a tonsil stone. The end result of the staph infection will be far worse than the discomfort of the stone.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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! :)

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!

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.


I know this is old but that just sounds like a pork intolerance to me. Avoid it and you should be okay.

I know this is an old post but I noticed your message regarding tonsil stones and sore throat symptoms. You mention a lump near your Adams Apple. Have you had your thyroid checked?

I hope you have figured all this out and are feeling better.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

does your daughter have badbreath?

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.

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.

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!

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

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.

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?

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?

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