Your body has numerous mechanisms to protect itself from infection and harmful substances. The tonsils are one of them.
These glands are located at the back of your throat. Tonsils are the first barriers that meet bacteria, viruses and other agents, when they try to invade the body. This activates immune system, triggering production of special defensive cells.
These glands have numerous tunnels and folds, called crypts.
Sometimes dead cells, mucus, food specks and other waste can be trapped in these crevices. With time, these particles accumulate and turn hard, forming tonsil stones (or calculi). Doctors call them tonsilloliths.
Having chronic inflammation in the tonsils may increase your risks of getting stones. Poor oral hygiene and large glands may also play a great role in this problem.
Debris stores represent a perfect environment for bacteria breeding. That's why ignoring tonsil stones may result in abscess.
Pay attention to these symptoms, which can indicate tonsilloliths:
#1. Bad breath odor (halitosis) – this trouble affects everyone from time to time. But having bad breath constantly may be a sign of tonsil stones. The reason is that anaerobic bacteria can accrue and propagate on the stones, creating foul-smelling chemicals sulfides. Sometimes unpleasant odor may be accompanied by nasty taste.
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#2. Difficulty swallowing – you may notice that it has become hard to swallow foods and even fluids. There is high number of health conditions, which can cause this symptom, and tonsil stones are among them.
#3. Ear pain – people with tonsilloliths often complain of aching, pressure and discomfort in one or both ears.
#4. Annoying cough – having cough for several days is not about tonsil stones, as usual. But if nagging cough last for a long time, it may signal about tonsilloliths.
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#5. Sore throat – calculi in the tonsils irritate throat tissue, causing swelling, redness, pain and dryness.
#6. White patches – some of us try to examine your throat, when feeling discomfort or unusual smell from oral cavity. During checkup you might notice white or yellowish spots on the tonsils.
Once you're suspected to have tonsils, consult with your doctor to get appropriate treatment.
Most of tonsilloliths can be treated without surgery. However sometimes medical professionals recommend removing them with laser or getting rid of tonsils at all.
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