Because of the similarity of their symptoms, it’s very easy to confuse tonsil stones with tonsillitis. Both make your throat hurt, both cause swelling and both are extremely stressful. However, the way in which they are formed is different. Which means the way in which you prevent both infections is also going to be different. So to help you with your tonsil stones, and to distinguish between the two infections, I’m going to explain how they’re formed in this post – as well as some of the reasons why this happens. That way you’ll be better equipped to prevent them from occurring.
How Are Tonsil Stones Formed?Around your throat, tonsils, teeth and gums, there are little pockets of space just big enough to collect bundles of debris, old food particles and dead cells (among other things). On your tonsils these are called tonsillar crypts and their main purpose is to help the immune system by releasing white blood cells to fight off harmful organisms. Now I’m sure you know, they often don’t do this very well which is why tonsil infections are so common. These pockets of space are seen as such a good environment for bad bacteria that they begin to congregate there, and if this goes untreated for a prolonged period of time, infection occurs. After the bacteria feeds on the debris found within the crypts, its leftovers begin to group together and calcify to form tonsil stones. So it’s actually a pretty simple process. The difficultly is preventing it from happening.
Why Do Tonsil Stones Form?So there are a few reasons why tonsil stones develop and it’s likely that many are the route cause, not just one. Below I’ve outlined the two most common causes.
Poor Oral HygieneWhen you don’t maintain a good oral hygiene routine, you won’t be clearing your mouth of bad bacteria and debris effectively. Which makes the development of tonsil stones much more likely. You also won’t be incorporating any good bacteria into your mouth to help your immune system. This makes it all the more difficult for it fight off bacteria and prevent infections. Now as serious as this sounds, it’s actually not all that difficult. You’ve probably got a routine already, it’s just a matter of improving it (provided it’s the problem). What I recommend you do is brush & floss at least 3 times per day and rinse with mouthwash 1-2 times daily (depending on what the label says). This will clear out all the pockets of space around your mouth, making it less likely for the infection to occur. *A little side tip* – Make sure you get an nonalcoholic mouthwash. An alcoholic one could do the opposite effect. Poor Hydration In order to combat bacteria effectively, your saliva needs to be kept at an optimum level. And in order to do that, you need to drink enough water. The exact amount varies for each person but if you’re prone to tonsil stones, then you’re likely not drinking enough. If you want to learn the specific amount you need then check out this calculator. In order to start drinking more water I recommend carrying around a water bottle with you where ever you go and filling it up when needed. This act of continually drinking the water, even with other beverages, will make it much easier to pick up the habit. After some time you’ll get so use to drinking water that you won’t seek out anything else. Keeping your hydration levels high and your chances of getting an infection low.