The tonsils primary role is to assist the immune system by fighting off harmful germs and viruses that enter the mouth when we eat. As most of you probably know, they aren’t always effective in doing this and can often get infected by the same bacteria that they’re trying to fight off.
When this happens the tonsil become inflamed and will grow in size – which is tonsillitis. This is very common and is relatively easy to treat. However, if you are subject to repeated infection then this condition will worsen to the point where you can get something called Kissing Tonsils.
Kissing Tonsils are when your tonsils become so swollen that they can touch each other – as if they’re “kissing”, which is where the name comes from.
Given that their immune system is most active between this age, children between 3-5 are most likely to experience this symptom. Not only that but their tonsils are likely already to be quite big in comparison to their mouth/throat.
However this does not mean it isn’t possible for adults to get kissing tonsils. If you’re prone to recurrent infection then they may remain big in size.
In most cases, your tonsil shrink back down to their normal size after fighting off the infection. But if they don’t then they can cause a number of problems.
One of the main problems is trouble with breathing properly. Because of their size, the tonsils can block your airways and make inhaling and exhaling difficult. Among other things, this can cause sleep apnea which is a pretty big problem for children.
When your sleep is interrupted, even for a few seconds, the amount of oxygen accessing your muscles reduces. As they’re body’s are developing quite a lot during this period (between ages 3-5), this reduction over a prolonged period of time could have big consequences.
However, this is still rare so don’t worry too much about it. If your children’s tonsils are causing them troubles then take them to their doctor so they can receive appropriate treatment.
Below are a few other problems everyone could experience because of kissing tonsils:
- swollen adenoids – which makes for even more difficulty when breathing
- recurrent ear infections
- trouble swallowing certain foods, like bread and meats – this can also result in a loss of weigth
- ear infections
If you or your child is currently experiencing kissing tonsils for the first time then you don’t necessarily need to go see your doctor. There a few things you can try first to reduce severity of problems and symptoms.
Take temperature appropriate foods/drinks
This can be anything from ice pops, ice cream, warm water or hot juice. Anything that soothes the throat will help.
By this I mean smoking, secondhand smoke or any other kind of air pollution. These are thought to increase tonsil size so they will only make your situation worse.
Drink chamomile tea
As well as being a suitable temperature to sooth your throat, chamomile tea also has anti-inflammatory properties. So it’ll also be able reduce any inflammation you are experiencing, possibly making it the perfect solution to your infection.
Gargle with apple cider vinegar
Like with tonsil stones, gargling apple cider vinegar is a great solution for kissing tonsils. As well as anti-inflammatory properties, ACV has antibacterial properties so it should help fight against bacteria found around your tonsils.
So not only will it help with your inflammation, it’s also speed up recovery.
In order to maintain optimum saliva levels, you need to drink enough water. Your saliva is what restricts bacteria activity within your mouth and you need it to do so to prevent infection.
When to see a doctor
If you begin to experience the above problems on a regular basis then I recommend you go see your doctor. You should go immediately if you notice your child is having trouble breathing or sleeping.
They’ll either explain some best practices or provide you with some medicine.
If you get kissing tonsils four or more times in a year, or six of more in 2 years, then it may be advised that you get a tonsillectomy. The recovery for this procedure is quite intense, especially for adults, but it could be worth it if enlarged tonsils are causing you serious problems in your everyday life.
This is a serious conversation to be had with your doctor so make you consult them before you make a decision.
Kissing tonsils can be a pretty serious condition so make sure that you take appropriate action when you release you have them. Just follow my advice above and you should be fine – but if not then make sure you go see your doctor.