What are Tonsil Stones?
Tonsil stones (or tonsilloliths) are white or off-white balls that appear on the tonsils. While part of the upper respiratory tract, doctors believe that the tonsils also play a role in the immune system, by preventing bacteria and other particles from entering the body (although those who have had their tonsils removed show no increase in susceptibility to infections or illnesses than those who have their tonsils).
Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention of Tonsil Stones
Sometimes food particles, skin cells, bacteria, etc., doesn't get flushed away or coughed out and can build up in the folds of the tonsils eventually resulting in the calcified (hardened) little balls - usually no bigger than a pea.
As with most conditions, not every person will present with the same causal factors, but doctors and patients report very similar experiences with the development of tonsil stones. While the stones themselves are not harmful to the tonsils, they are often the main contributors to bad breath. In very bad cases, bad breath or a sour taste returns an hour or two after brushing.
If tonsil stones appear following a sickness, in all likelihood as the illness finishes its natural cycles, the tonsil stones will disappear. If they occur outside of any particular illness, then it's time to look at treatment and prevention.
There are several ways of preventing and treating tonsilloliths. It's really a matter of trial and error to find a method that works for you, but here are some suggestions:
1) Canadian Tea Capsules (also known as E-Tea (Essiac Tea) Capsules): This recipe is based an old Ojibwa formula that acts as a natural detoxifier and has been reported by some users to keep tonsilloliths from developing.
2) Avoid alcohol and products containing alcohol, including mouthwashes. Alcohol increases the alkalinity levels in a person's mouth, in which bacteria will thrive. Use a non-alcoholic, sugar-free mouthwash. One common natural rinse uses baking soda and witch hazel. The sugar in many mouthwashes also contributes to prime breeding ground for bacteria.