Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tonsil Stones (Tonsilloliths): Are They A Danger Or The Cause Of Bad Breath?

Taken by me, no usage restrictions. Image for ...Image via Wikipedia

The tonsils that we have are really the first thing we have to defend ourselves from illnesses. How the operate in this aspect is by acting like a net, ensnaring bacteria as they pass through the area of the throat. In some instances, mucus and dead cells will become trapped in the nooks of your tonsils where they collect and harden into small tonsils stones that will look either white or yellow.

Tonsil stones, which are also known as tonsilloliths, will occur because of the calcification of postnasal drip, bacteria, and chunks of food that will accumulate around the area of the crypts of your tonsils. In much more serious instances some people will even have them form at the mouths roof, the major downside to this condition would have to be the embarrassment that can be caused by one or more tonsils exiting your mouth from coughing.

For a while, most people just chalked these yellowish stones up to just being pieces of food that were stuck at the back of your throat. These tonsil stones can be overlooked very easily since they can be very small; there are many people who did not know they had them until an x-ray and or a CT scan. There have been cases however, of very large stones in these crevices where they needed to be removed even though this does not happen a lot.

So how would a person know if he or she had tonsil stones?

The symptoms that can occur are not fun and can be very embarrassing to someone. Mostly, a person will feel as if something is always stuck in the back of your throat along side of a tightening feeling in your throat.

Generally, people experience an aftertaste that is quite metallic that does not leave, and having very bad breath.

Medical studies have been done showing that 75% of individuals who are afflicted by bad breathe or even halitosis will also have tonsil stones. If you have tried taking one of these stones and breaking it in half you have most defiantly noticed that very bad smell it contains.

The horrible smell is caused from postnasal drip, bacteria, and a sulphur compound of methyl mercapten and hydrogen sulfide.

Tonsilloliths will tend to form in a person's tonsil crypts so, that means only people who still posses their tonsils can be affected from this condition.

Many fantastic treatments work well and can be found on the market for dealing with tonsil stones nevertheless, there is no urgent need to run to your doctor and ask for a tonsillectomy.
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Monday, December 14, 2009

What Are Tonsil Stones And Do They Cause Bad Breath

A large tonsillolith taken from my tonsil cavi...Image via Wikipedia

Tonsils can get inflamed and can cause significant problems, but the fact is, these so-called "useless" tonsils that were once removed as a matter of course are in fact not useless at all. In fact, they help protect us from illness, because they are among the first lines of defense that help protect our bodies from bacterial and viral onslaughts.

In fact, they trap viruses and bacteria before they can go further. However, they're not entirely without problems, and they don't always work like they should. In some cases, mucous, bacteria, dead cells, or other debris can get caught in tonsil crevices, thus causing so-called "tonsil stones," or tonsiliths, which are small white or yellow colored stones.

Why do they occur? Simply, they come because "garbage" gathers around your tonsils, and when that garbage (things like postnasal drip, food particles, and bacteria) gets caught in tonsil crevices, it hardens into small yellow colored stones that can look like white spots at the back of the throat. Overactive salivary glands and a reaction to dairy products can also cause tonsiliths.

Not long ago, people simply thought these tonsiliths were bits of food or bits of plaque that got caught in the back of the throat -- and indeed, they are very small, such that normal physical examinations may not catch them; in some cases, they won't be seen until a more refined test is used, like a CT scan.

Do you have tonsiliths? That depends; symptoms can be embarrassing and unpleasant indeed. If you have tonsil stones, you can feel as though something is stuck in the back of your throat or that your throat is somehow "tightening." You may have a metallic taste in your mouth, and you'll almost always have chronic bad breath.

You can treat tonsil stones, though, and in many cases you can do it from home. Gargle thoroughly and establish a good oral hygiene routine, which can help take care of them. You can reach the back of your throat with your finger, a Q-tip, or the back of your toothbrush, and gently scrape them away. You can squeeze them out by brushing gently upwards with your brush, finger, etc., pressing gently as you do so. There are other methods you can get rid of them with, too, and you can find them by Googling, "tonsil stones," or "tonsiliths" on the Internet.

If tonsiliths are particularly severe, surgery may be recommended. Cryptolysis involves having a surgeon remove tonsiliths with a laser, and then smoothing tonsil surfaces so that tonsiliths can't regrow. Remember, though, even though this may seem like a good idea, when the tonsil surfaces are smoothed, this negate some of the benefits of the rough surfaces' catching of bacteria and other foreign matter as a means to prevent infection and so on.
A last resort is that you can have your tonsils removed, of course, but this will take care of just the tonsiliths, not the bad breath. Tonsiliths can also reform even so. Surgery can be expensive and painful, and it can take you up to a month to completely recover from it.

Among the less drastic and arguably better ways to manage tonsiliths is to practice good oral hygiene and follow a healthy diet. Reduce dairy intake if necessary and brush your teeth after you eat and especially before bed. This will keep food from possibly accumulating that could cause tonsiliths to form. Gargle as part of your oral hygiene, and make sure you drink plenty of water, too. This will help keep tonsiliths from forming, but these tips are also good for your health in general.

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