Almond stones or tonsil stones are tiny structures in the throat and pharynx, which stink when crushed and result in a vital lousy breath. The tiny lumps are harmless and can be easily removed. Read on to find out how tonsil stones are formed, what you can do about them, and how you can remove tonsils yourself.
What are almond stones?
Almond stones are small, white-yellowish, sometimes crumbly lumps that arise in the palatine tonsils (tonsillar palatine) or pharyngeal tonsils (tonsillar pharyngeal). They are also known as tonsil stones or tonsilloliths, as the tonsils are also called tonsils.
The tonsil stones usually consist of food particles, cells of the oral mucosa, and bacteria. If they are crushed, they give off a penetrating, foul odor and can be the reason for bad breath (technically known as foetor ex ore or halitosis). Almond stones are usually entirely harmless and can be easily removed.
How are almond stones formed?
Almost half of all people will have tonsils at some point in their life. So their formation is normal to a certain extent.
The mass that makes up almond stones comes from the remains of our chewed food, which is mixed with bacteria and the body’s cells. Medical professionals refer to this mixture as detritus. During chewing, these food particles are pressed into the furrows on the surface of the almond. These are also called crypts and extend into the depths of the tonsils.
Many white blood cells in the almond tissue are part of our body’s immune system. The first contact of the immune system with the chyme and the bacteria it contains takes place in the almonds. After a specific time, the residue is pushed out of the tonsil and then swallowed – this is an entirely normal process.
However, this residue calcifies and appears on the surface of the tonsil crypts as tonsil stones. The minerals that cause calcification come from chewed food. Together with them, the chyme forms a firm, crumbly consistency and then sticks to the almonds in the form of small lumps.
Causes: Why do you get almond stones?
Almond stones do not always have clear causes. However, there are a few factors that contribute to tonsil stones from forming. Since tonsil stones form in the crypts of the tonsils, people who have more profound and broader tombs are more likely to develop tonsil stones. It was also found that the likelihood of suffering from tonsil stones increases with the frequency of tonsillitis.
After an infection, the ability of the crypts to clean themselves may also restricted, leading to prolonged storage of the residues and thus to tonsil stones. However, tonsil stones can also signify a more active immune system as more white blood cells are activated and migrate into the crypts, causing the residue to gain mass and become more viscous.
Symptoms: how to spot tonsil stones
Almond stones discovered either by the attending physician or by the person concerned themselves when looking at the oral cavity. They can show white-yellow lumps on the tonsils that become visible when the mouth is wide open.
Often tonsil stones are also an incidental finding in CT scans ( computed tomography ) of the skull or orthopantomograms (panoramic x-rays of the upper and lower jaw). In this case, they must differentiate from calcifications in the surrounding arteries, the salivary gland, or malignant tumors, among other things.
In some cases, tonsil stones also discovered because they cause symptoms. The following complaints known in connection with almond stones:
- Bad breath
- Foreign body sensation in the throat
- Coughing force
- However, tonsil stones are usually asymptomatic, which means that they do not cause any
Are tonsil stones always visible?
Almond stones only become visible when they rise to the surface of the crypts. As a rule, however, they only discovered by the person concerned after a thorough inspection of the oral cavity, so they usually do not fall into the eye by chance.
In most cases, the oral cavity only examined due to the discomfort caused by the tonsil stones. The level of suffering is exceptionally high with bad breath and is most likely to move those affected to see the doctor.
Almond stones or pus on the tonsils – how do you tell the difference?
Frequently tonsils stones and tonsillitis (to tonsillitis ) confused. The pus deposits (specks) of tonsillitis are reminiscent of tonsils stones and are whitish to yellowish. However, tonsillitis is usually accompanied by the following symptoms, which do not occur with tonsil stones:
- Sore throat
- Swelling of the lymph nodes
- Reddening of the tonsils
- Swelling of the tonsils
- However, frequent tonsillitis favors the formation of tonsils stones.
Are Almond Stones Dangerous?
As a rule, tonsils stones are harmless because they come off quickly and rarely cause symptoms or complications. The most common complication repeated sore throat. In rare cases, peritonsillar abscesses (abscess formation in the palatine tonsils) and lung complications from swallowing the tonsil stones can also occur.
What to do about tonsil stones
In principle, tonsils stones do not need to treat. In the event of complaints, however, they can remove without hesitation. A distinction made between methods for self-treatment and processes that should reserve for medical specialists, as the risk of injury with these treatment methods very high.
Remove tonsils yourself
The following methods and home remedies can use to treat tonsils stones yourself:
- Stretching of the throat
- direct removal, for example, with a toothbrush
- Aspiration through pipettes
Prevention: what helps against tonsil stones?
Almond stones cannot avoid entirely. As a precaution, however, the following measures can take to prevent tonsils stones:
Brushing your teeth
Brushing your teeth regularly cleans the oral cavity of bacteria and thus also helps to reduce the frequency of tonsils stones.
Gargling with rinses and teas can also help preventively, as they are beneficial for oral hygiene. The herbal teas already mentioned are suitable here again.
Also read: what do ducks eat