Tonsillar stones are small, white-colored accumulations of debris and sulfur-based bacteria that becomes lodged inside the pockets of the tonsils, cause a variety of symptoms that can be both irritating and painful.
While the symptoms of tonsillar stones can range from the obvious, such as the visible presence of stones that can be seen by the naked eye to a mild or severe sore throat, they can also include earaches, headaches, stomachaches, excess phlegm in the throat, coughing, foul-smelling breath, and difficulty swallowing or breathing.
In some cases, a person with stones on their tonsils may also feel as though there is a protruding object in the back of the mouth or on the tongue. The presence of tonsillar stones can affect people of all ages and races, but they seem to develop more frequently on the tonsils of adults than on those of children. They are generally not harmful, but are typically an annoyance and source of irritation.
In some cases, a person will develop stones on their tonsils, tongue, or back of the mouth once or twice and never experience it again. Others fight a constant struggle and have chronic tonsilloliths which can be embarrassing, painful, and tedious to remove.
There are a variety of home remedies that have been proven to eliminate these accumulations in the mouth or on the tonsils. Some of these include scraping them away gently with a toothbrush, spraying them out with pulsating jets of water, or carefully expressing them by popping them with a Q-tip.
However, despite the ease of removal in most cases, sometimes the stones can be located in an area of the mouth that is difficult or unsafe to poke around in on your own. In cases like this, consult your physician for assistance in removing the tonsilloliths or, in extreme cases, a "tonsillectomy," in which the tonsils themselves are removed completely in a relatively routine procedure that can remove tonsillar stones and prevent them from reoccurring.