Tonsils are two gland-like structures in total, one on each side at the back of the throat. Thought to be a part of the defense system, the tonsils help fight infection, where the first reaction is given against microbial agents entering the body through the respiratory tract. However, in some people, tonsils can cause more harm than good by causing diseases such as continuous inflammation (tonsillitis) or tonsil stones rather than preventing infections. In such cases, it may be necessary to remove the tonsils or apply different treatment procedures if recommended by the physician. Tonsil stones; They are hard build-up deposits on the tonsils due to food residues, mucus and bacteria accumulation. In some cases, it does not cause any disturbing symptoms, while in some tonsil stones, it may cause problems such as pain, irritation in the throat, difficulty in swallowing, and bad smell in the mouth. Since the stones in the tonsils also form a home for bacteria, it is beneficial for individuals who experience symptoms of this disease to undergo physician control and receive the necessary treatments.
Tonsils have recesses in which many substances such as bacteria, mucus, dead cells, nutrients can accumulate and become trapped. Stone-like hard structures are formed as a result of the accumulation of these materials and their hardening over time. These structures, called tonsil stones, can be painful or painless, and their sizes are variable. Generally, it is seen that tonsil stones are more common in individuals with recurrent tonsillitis (tonsillitis). In most of the tonsil stone cases, the size of the stone is generally between the rice grain and the grape. Small tonsil stones with a white or yellow color are present in most people. Because of their small size, these are usually asymptomatic and do not require any treatment. Because of the location of the tonsils and the small size of the stones, it is also very difficult to see tonsil stones. Therefore, many people who have small tonsil stones do not realize it. Large tonsil stones are much less common, and the likelihood of developing uncomfortable symptoms increases in proportion to the size of the stone. At the same time, large tonsil stones can manifest themselves with the bad smell they create in the mouth.
What are the symptoms of tonsil stones?
Tonsil stones do not cause any symptoms or discomfort in many individuals. Although the possibility of giving symptoms increases as the size of the stone increases, even very large tonsil stones are detected incidentally only as a result of examinations such as x-ray and CT (computed tomography). This situation is also related to the location of the stone. Common symptoms caused by tonsil stones include: -Bad smell in the mouth-Throat ache-Cough-Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)-Visible white or yellow spots in the throat-Tonsil swelling-Pain in the ear
Scientific research has shown that 3 out of every 4 people who frequently have tonsillitis and have bad odor complaints have tonsil stones. It is very difficult to distinguish the symptoms caused by tonsil stones from the symptoms of tonsillitis in patients with frequent tonsillitis. The cough symptom is usually caused by the irritation of the stone in the throat. Pain caused by tonsil stones can sometimes be felt like ear pain. Therefore, it is beneficial to consider this possibility in patients with earache. What causes tonsil stones? Bademcikler, anatomik yapıları itibariyle belirli yarıklar, odacıklar, tünel ve çukurlardan oluşurlar. Bu alanlar ölü hücrelerin, mukusun, tükürük salgılarının, besin artıklarının ve bakterilerin birikimi için uygun bir ortam oluşturur. Bu gibi kalıntıların bademciklerin söz konusu girintili yapılarında birikip sıkışması sonucunda bademcik taşları oluşur. Bakteriler ve bazı mantar türleri bu birikimleri besin olarak kullanırlar. Bunun sonucunda hem enfeksiyon hem de ağız kokusu ortaya çıkar. Ağız kokusunun sebebi ise bademcik taşlarından beslenen ve oksijensiz solunum yaparak sülfitler üreten bakterilerdir. Bunların yanı sıra bademcik taşı neden olur sorusuna yanıt olarak belirtilebilecek bazı diğer faktörler ise şunlardır: -Inadequate oral and dental hygiene-Chronic sinus problems-Having large tonsils-Chronic tonsillitis (tonsillitis) Despite all these reasons, it is possible to encounter tonsil stones even in individuals who pay maximum attention to oral and dental care. For this reason, individuals who have symptoms of tonsil stones or who are constantly caught with throat infections should be examined by health institutions.
How is tonsil stone diagnosed?
Tonsil stone is one of the problems that should be considered and investigated especially in chronic tonsillitis patients. Patients who apply to health institutions with symptoms of tonsil stones should go to ear nose and throat polyclinics. Many tonsil stones can be easily detected by a physical examination by the physician. While the throat examination is performed by the physician, the tongue is pressed downwards with the help of a wooden stick and light is shined towards the throat. The throat and tonsil area can thus be viewed in more detail. However, some stones hidden in the tonsil folds may not be detected by physical examination. In this case, if such a suspicion is felt by the physician, it may be necessary to resort to X-ray examinations made with X-rays or computed tomography (CT) applications. Tonsil stones in invisible areas can be diagnosed clearly with the help of such medical imaging methods. In addition to the examination and diagnostic tests, it is also very important to take the medical history of the patient. It is very important to get information about how often the patient has a throat infection, whether there is difficulty in swallowing, whether or not he has bad breath. In the light of all this information and examination findings, the necessary treatment plan is determined by the physician and transferred to the patient.
What are tonsil stone treatment methods? If the tonsil stone is small and does not cause any discomfort in the patient, no intervention is required. The person should pay attention to practices such as tooth brushing, use of dental floss, and tongue cleaning to ensure oral and dental hygiene. Small tonsil stones that are newly developed and have a white, yellow color can be removed at home with the help of a cotton swab. However, excessive pressure should not be applied to the throat, and tonsil stones should not be tried to be cleaned with foreign objects, except for soft-tipped cotton swabs. In addition, mouthwash with salt water can be effective in both removing tonsil stones and preventing new stone formation. If an infection is detected in the tonsils, treatment should be applied first. Tonsillitis treatment is usually carried out with the use of antibiotic drugs. If it causes adverse effects such as cough, difficulty swallowing, swelling, and pain, the tonsil stone may need to be removed. Likewise, very large tonsil stones should be removed surgically. Tonsil stones may need to be removed if they become a long-term and recurring problem and often tonsill infections are seen. This procedure is called tonsillectomy. Another treatment application is the application called cryptolysis, which is performed by removing tonsil stones by laser beams or radiofrequency. The appropriate method of treatment is determined as a result of a detailed examination by the physician.
Individuals with long-term (chronic) tonsil infections are much more likely to develop tonsil stones than other individuals. For this reason, these individuals should pay more attention to oral hygiene and regularly undergo a doctor’s control. Gargling after meals, brushing the teeth at least twice a day, cleaning the tongue and using regular flossing are the most effective ways to prevent tonsil infections and stones.
If you have noticed stone-like formations in your tonsils or if you are experiencing symptoms of tonsil stones, it is useful to apply to a health institution and undergo an examination. In this way, you can prevent serious throat infections and possible growth of tonsil stones, and you can lead a healthier life.