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How Do I Remove Tonsil Stones?

Tonsil stones are small, yellowish in color, and form in the back of the throat within the tonsils.
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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2014
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Tonsil stones, also called tonsilloliths, can be an extremely irritating problem. There are several different methods that can be used to remove tonsil stones and several additional preventative methods that can stop the problem altogether. In terms of possible complications, it is better to at least attempt to remove the tonsil stones in ways that do not require surgery before taking more drastic measures. The most common methods used to remove tonsil stones are manual and entail scraping or otherwise brushing the stones out of place. Once the stones have been removed, using mouthwash and gargling can at least partially decrease the formation of tonsilloliths.

Usually tonsil stones can be removed at home using a long instrument with a soft or rounded end to scrape the formations out of the tonsil crypts. First, you must find the tonsil stones using a mirror and a light, if possible. Next, you must moisten the scraping instrument and attempt to dislodge the stone by sweeping it out of the tonsil crypt. It is possible to push the stone deeper into the crypt, which can make it even more difficult to remove, so exercising caution is a very good idea. Sometimes, it may take a few tries before the stone can be dislodged.

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It is also possible to remove tonsil stones by squirting water from an oral irrigator. The water must be at a strong enough pressure to dislodge the stone, but should not be so strong that it hurts. This method can sometimes be difficult if the stone is lodged firmly in the tonsil crypt. Gargling with vinegar can help remove tonsil stones more easily.

In some extreme cases, resurfacing the tonsils can help give the stones less area on which to form. Resurfacing is typically done with lasers and both effectively smoothes out surfaces and prevents debris from becoming trapped in the crypts. A tonsillectomy can remove the problem entirely, but this solution is often considered too drastic for minor cases.

After stones have been removed, it is absolute essential to clean the area thoroughly. Washing your mouth regularly with mouthwash, vinegar, or salt water can often prevent stones from forming and may help dislodge stones that have already formed. Using caution when scraping the back of your throat is essential because it is possible to cause injury to that area with hard instruments. When in doubt about whether a formation is a tonsil stone or when a tonsil stone is difficult to remove at home, it is a good idea to seek professional medical help.

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anon925713
Post 5

I had my tonsils removed at age 38. The only way to get rid of tonsil stones is to have your tonsils removed. The surgery was nothing. It was not hard on me at all. I know what it's like to have horrible breath. I don't have tonsil stones anymore because I don't have tonsils.

discographer
Post 4

@burcinc-- I use a stainless steel blackhead extractor tool to remove my tonsil stones because they're deeply embedded in my throat. I burn the tip of the tool to sterilize it first. It works well.

SarahGen
Post 3

@burcinc-- I just use my finger to remove them but I realize this doesn't work for everyone, especially if there are crypts.

Whatever you use, make sure the end of the tool is blunt. Don't make your tonsils bleed or you will get an infection. I gargle with warm salt water often to kill bacteria and prevent infection when I'm removing tonsil stones.

I would actually prefer to have the dentist remove them but I get them almost every month so it's not possible. But if you don't get them all the time, it's safest to have your dentist take care of it for you.

burcinc
Post 2

I discovered just yesterday that I have tonsil stones! I want to remove them right away because they're giving me bad breath.

I tried using a cotton swab to dislodge them but that didn't work. It actually made me nauseated and I couldn't continue.

What's the best tool to use for this? I don't want to poke my tonsils with random tools I find in the house. That will probably give me a throat infection. I need something safe and effective. Please give me some advice!

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