Tonsil stones, or as known in medical term as tonsilloliths, are formed because of the accumulation of bacteria, debris, mucus, dead cells and food particles that stick inside the tonsil crypts. Those things which are not cleaned properly make the tonsils grow bigger, creating whitish or yellowish small globulars full of bacteria and mucus that have an extremely unpleasant smell.
Tonsil stones that have grown bigger can be detected easily with some commont tonsil stones symptoms. If you always feel like there’s something stuck in your throat, particularly on your tonsils area, it can almost be concluded that your tonsils stones are already formed.
To make it more certain, you can examine your throat in front of a mirror by using a flashlight. Tonsil stones are the small globs in white or yellow that you find on the left and right side of your throat.
You can also suspect the tonsil stones with the help of a cotton swab or a toothbrush. Gently push your tonsils by using one of those tools. Spreading the crack parts on your tonsils can reveal the specks of tonsil stones in their tiny, yellowish, and white appearance.
The most common tonsil stones symptom that can easily be found is when you cough up some unusual things such as white debris, yellow mucus or small pieces of the stones with a foul smell. Small parts of tonsil stones you cough up indicate that the infection of your tonsils has enlarged the size of the stones.
Tonsils infection also leads to other symptoms that affect your oral health as well as influence all parts inside your mouth, the nasal area, and respiration passage. Other body parts such as throat, tongue, and ear are potentially influenced by the infection.
Symptoms of tonsil stones
Besides several common symptoms explained earlier, the following is other tonsil stones symptoms that you have to worry about.
1. Foul and chronic bad breath (halitosis)
Tonsilloliths are formed primarily by the decay of anaerobic bacteria and mouth debris. This condition causes people who are suffering from tonsil stones to have an unpleasant smell from their mouth.
The smell is usually worse if it is compared to usual bad breath that is not caused by tonsil stones.
No matter how often you brush your teeth, bad breath or halitosis will not go away if your tonsils are already affected by bacteria.
2. Post nasal drip
Post nasal drip is a tonsil stones symptom that is accompanied by bad breath. Besides producing bad breath, the bacteria inside the mouth can also irritate the nasal passages and cause chronic sinusitis infections and allergies.
The result of those conditions is excessive mucus drainage from the nasal passage into your throat.
Additionally, those bacteria that create tonsil stones will thicken the phlegm inside the throat and create mucus as well. This makes the phlegm and mucus become hard to swallow, and as a result, making them drip down from your nose.
3. Unpleasant taste in mouth
In addition to unwanted bad breath which is hard to dissolve (even when you already brush your teeth, floss or gargle every day), tonsils infection also creates an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
You will usually feel a bitter or metallic taste inside once your tonsils are affected.
Those abominable tastes are caused by the heavy amounts of bacterial gases and the great discharge of decayed material and food particles.
4. Sore throat
The tonsil stones that have grown larger can cause sore throats due to the feeling of having a lump in the throat that is hard to swallow away. The growing state from tiny stones into a bigger size creates sharper edges that influence the sensitive tissue on your tonsils, making it painful for you to only do usual process involving mouth and throat.
For example, you will experience a dysphagia, which is experiencing a tough time when swallowing your food.
5. Ear pain
Ear pain, or secondary otalgia in its scientific term, is a pain occurred within the ear. It is one of the tonsil stones symptoms that indicate that the tonsils infection has irritated the glossopharyngeal nerve, or commonly known as cranial nerve number nine. This certain nerve connects the throat, tonsils, and the base of the tongue to the inside part of the ear.
Several functions of cranial nerve number nine are receiving taste fiber from the front area of the tongue and emanating the sensory fibers from carotid sinus region.
The development of tonsil stones can make you hear a ringing sound inside the parts of the ear that are included in those regions.
6. Excessive coughing and gagging
The tonsil stones which are fixed firmly into the tonsils area near the middle part of the throat will make you want to cough or gag excessively. This is because the substances inside need to be dislodged from the throat.
The larger size of tonsil stones may also initiate a gagging fit, due to their size that is big enough to stick out from the tonsils through the back part of the throat.
7. Tonsil inflammation and throat swelling
Tonsil stones formation that is accumulated on the tonsils and some areas of your throat may cause those particular parts inside your mouth turn red and painful, as well as experience swollen condition.
Tonsil inflammation and throat swelling are the results of tonsils infection which make them become the symptoms of tonsil stones.
8. White tongue
Easily detected tonsil stones symptoms also include having a white tongue, referred to the thick white coating on the tongue which is difficult to remove. The simple reason why white tongue appears is that it is aided by the same bacteria that are responsible for forming tonsil stones.
White tongue is caused by collected compounds of volatile sulfur on the back part of your tongue and throat. These compounds are the result of the anaerobic bacteria which also contribute in growing the tonsil stones into larger amounts.
Identifying and understanding those eight tonsil stones symptoms can be used as a caution or warning before you take another step further. However, it is wiser for you to pay attention to your oral hygiene in order to prevent the inconvenient effects of tonsil stones.