Can A Dentist Remove Tonsil Stones?
If one is dealing with tonsil stones, what is the most effective method to remove them? One method that can be used is to apply gentle pressure with either the tongue or a cotton swab against the tonsil, which effectively helps to dislodge the stone. However, there are situations where the stone becomes firmly lodged, causing difficulties for the individual to remove it independently. If you are in a situation like this, you can visit our office and ask one of our team members for help. They are willing to investigate the problem for you.
Preventing the occurrence of tonsil stones can be achieved by adopting effective methods, including:
- Gargling with saltwater on a regular basis.
- Flushing the tonsils with a water flosser
- Brush and floss your teeth daily in order to remove the buildup of bacteria from your oral cavity.
Tonsil stones are formed when food particles and dead cells build up and harden in the pockets and crevices of the tonsils.
What Are the Tonsil Stones?
The tonsils contain tonsillar crypts that resemble crevices, pits, or tunnels. Within these tonsil crypts, there are small formations called tonsil stones. The stones consist of live biofilm, deceased cells, mucus, and bacteria that become trapped and solidify or calcify.
The immune system sends out white blood cells to fight against foreign invaders. After the battle, the remnants of the clash can persistently stick to the tonsils. Sometimes tonsil stones are not easily noticed and can be accidentally swallowed. However, if certain particles become trapped in hard-to-reach areas, they can quietly grow and reproduce over time. To prevent various issues, such as tonsilloliths (throat stones), it is important to address the matter effectively, including:
- Having tonsil stones can lead to unpleasant breath, which can create uncomfortable situations during conversations with your acquaintances, companions, and family members. Additionally, it can have an effect on your self-confidence.
- Difficulty swallowing is a common symptom of swollen tonsils due to the presence of large tonsil stones.
- Large tonsil stones have the potential of causing disruption or damage in the tonsil tissue, leading inflammation, swelling, and possibly infection. The most serious complication of tonsil stones is the development of an infection called an abscess.
What Causes Tonsil Stones?
Tonsil stones can affect a considerable number of individuals, with an approximate 10% of the population experiencing this issue. It is worth noting that these stones are not contagious and their occurrence is not influenced by one’s biological sex. Some common causes and risk factors of tonsil stones are typically related to:
- Tonsillitis: Tonsilloliths are often found in individuals who experience frequent episodes of tonsillitis or ongoing inflammation in the area surrounding their tonsils.
- Poor dental hygiene: Neglecting proper oral hygiene can lead to the buildup of food particles, cellular residues, and plaque in the tonsils, which can eventually result in the formation of tonsil stones.
- Are tonsil stones hereditary?: The shape and size of our tonsils have an important role as they have different contours and proportions. This diversity is important to consider, as some individuals have a higher number of tonsil crypts than others.
- Sinusitis and allergic reactions: Sinus inflammation and certain allergic responses often lead to the buildup of mucus. The mucus may travel to the nasopharynx region and eventually accumulate in the tonsil pockets.
- Dry mouth: Lack of saliva can result in the uncomfortable condition known as dry mouth. Medications such as anti-hypertensives can trigger this condition. Saliva plays an important role in fighting off harmful bacteria because of its antibacterial agents and enzymes. When the mouth is dry, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria, which may lead to tonsil stone formation.
What Are the Ways to Prevent Tonsil Stones?
The most effective method to completely eliminate tonsil stones is through a Tonsillectomy, although it is not generally recommended. A recommended approach is to reduce the likelihood of experiencing dry mouth and tonsil stones by following these methods:
- Practice good oral hygiene: Make sure to brush and floss your teeth after each meal. It is recommended to clean the back of your tongue while brushing teeth to prevent bacteria buildup.
- Stop smoking: Quitting smoking is recommended for individuals who engage in this harmful habit, as it can disrupt the delicate chemical balance in the mouth and increase the likelihood of developing tonsil stones.
- Use a mouthwash: Using mouthwash helps to remove bacteria and debris by directing them towards the throat, reducing the chances of tonsil stones forming. For maximum effectiveness, it is recommended to choose mouthwashes that are non-alcoholic.
- Eat foods with strong antibacterial properties: Onions and carrots have antibacterial properties that can help fight the bacteria that cause tonsil stones. The action of saliva aids in flushing out oral debris and bacteria, so incorporating foods with chewy consistency, like carrots or non-sugar chewing gums, can help increase saliva production. In addition, consuming yogurt enriched with probiotics can effectively neutralize the bacteria responsible for tonsil stones. Garlic has properties that can combat the growth of bacteria and provide remedies for infections, including its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal abilities.
- Drinking plenty of water can help prevent tonsil stones by cleansing the mouth and washing away bacteria and debris.