Every person is born with tonsils but over time one may have their tonsils removed if they are becoming a hindrance to them. Let me explain.
We have tonsil pockets in which our tonsil glands are located on each side of the throat. Our tonsils are made of cells that prevent and help fight infections. These pockets are meant to trap bacteria that make its way into the throat and trap viruses as well. However, as humans have evolved and the population has increased, so have the bacteria and viruses in our world.
It is theorized that tonsils do little to prevent infections and in some people they inflame regularly leading to a painful and uncomfortable situation. If this happens too often, a doctor may recommend getting rid of the tonsils altogether through a surgery.
If the tonsils do not inflame that much then you can live with it – however this is up to you.
What then causes tonsil stones?
Well our tonsils are in a pocket as I mentioned earlier and these pockets can be filled with all sorts of particles and bacteria can gather. Mucous and dead cells also fill up in these nooks and crannies. After some time of course these particles become concentrated and white formations are created within the tonsil pockets.
These are the tonsil stones.
These stones are hard because the particles have been trapped and have eventually calcified. This happens mostly to those who constantly have inflamed tonsils. This is why, to prevent the onset of tonsil stones such people are recommended to reduce the amount of debris and bacteria found within the tonsils as much as possible.
How to tell if you have them
You may be asking “are tonsil stones normal?” Well they actually are but not a lot of people realise they have them. However, large tonsil stones are quite a rare find.
So how can you tell if you have tonsil stones? The small tonsil stones have no noticeable signs. However, larger ones do cause some symptoms that can be easily diagnosed.
The most common symptom is bad breath. Not just a smelly mouth but a putrid odour that occurs regularly even despite maintaining good oral hygiene. This is also known as halitosis caused by a tonsil infection.
Sore throats are also an accurate indicator of tonsil stones. This is because the area in which your tonsil stone is lodged may become sore and painful. This pain usually resembles that of the common sore throat that is caused by a tonsil infection may be due to a cold. So if the sore throat is persistent, it is wise to have a CT- scan done to determine whether or not you have a tonsil stone.
Tonsil inflammation is another red flag. Again if your tonsils are getting inflamed much too often then this could be a sign of tonsil stone formation in the tonsil pocket.
When tonsils are exceedingly large, one can opt for a surgical removal of the lodged tonsil stones. However prevention on tonsil stones is pretty easy (depending on your situation) so you should be able to avoid surgery.
But if you’re experiencing recurring infections and are having trouble breathing (or another severe symptom) then I would consult your doctor about a possible tonsillectomy. It may be tough to go through but it could be what is needed to relive you of your pain and discomfort.