If you suffer from chronic bad breath or an ongoing cough and sore throat, you might have tonsil stones. The experienced board-certified doctors at Beach Cities ENTS in Torrance, California, diagnose tonsil stones and recommend customized treatments to get rid of your tonsil stones and alleviate your bad breath and other symptoms. Call the Los Angeles area office or schedule a consultation online today.
Your tonsils are glands located at the top of your throat. They have many folds and pockets that can fill up with mucus, bacteria, and other debris that can harden into a deposit called a tonsil stone.
Tonsil stones range in size from smaller than a grain of rice to as large as a grape. They cause several symptoms, including:
You also might not have any symptoms or think your bad breath is due to another issue. Many people have tonsil stones but don’t know it. Tonsil stones are common but don’t typically cause complications. They’re not contagious.
Tonsil stones develop when mucus, saliva, bacteria, and other debris get trapped in the folds of your tonsils and harden into solid deposits. Some of the factors that contribute to tonsil stones include:
You can reduce your risk of tonsil stones by thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth, cleaning your tongue, and using mouthwash. You should also avoid tobacco products, gargle with warm salt water, and stay hydrated.
The doctors at Beach Cities ENTS diagnose tonsil stones with a thorough exam and throat culture, similar to the test for strep throat. In rare cases, if you have disruptive symptoms, but the stones are hidden in the folds of your tonsils, you might need an MRI or CT scan.
The doctors at Beach Cities ENTS provide customized treatment for tonsil stones. Depending on your needs, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics.
If you have severe or large tonsil stones, they might suggest surgical removal. They might also recommend a tonsillectomy or laser treatment to prevent tonsil stones from reforming.
You should never try to dislodge a tonsil stone by yourself. Your tonsils are delicate, and poking at them can cause damage and pain. You could try gargling with salt water or vigorous coughing to dislodge a tonsil stone.
Call Beach Cities ENTS or make an appointment online today if you’re concerned about tonsil stones or have chronic but unexplained bad breath or sore throat.