If you or someone you know has ever suffered from tonsil stones and their treatment, then you may have wondered what causes tonsil stones and how you can prevent them.
Tonsils: Glands of Infection Prevention
For almost as long as medical professionals have known about tonsils, they have also witnessed the creation of tonsil stones.
The tonsils are glands in the lymphatic system. Some of the cells in the tonsils are lymphocytes that actively work to prevent the occurrence of infections. During an illness, tonsils will trap dead bacteria, preventing them from traveling through and building up in the body. This process can help the individual to recover more quickly from their illness.
The function of the tonsils is to defend the body from infections. In order to carry out this function, viruses and bacteria that enter the body through the nose become trapped in the crevices and crannies of the gland. Once trapped there, the harmful bacteria can be attacked by the lymphocytes and other antibodies in the immune system, preventing the occurrence of infections in the throat and lungs.
How is it, then, that the very function meant to prevent the body from infections is the source of a painful, infected buildup?
Tonsils normally have a sponge-like appearance. In some people the crevices, or craters, in the glands are small and hard to see, but in others, they are very large. These crevices and crannies are the perfect place for bits of food to become lodged when you are eating. Once the food bits get trapped there, collagen and bacteria will attack the food. Unfortunately, this mixture is also trapped within the crater of the tonsil. This is one way that stones can begin.
Another typical start of tonsil stone formation occurs when an individual becomes very sick. In this situation the tonsils might trap more bacteria than they are able to handle. The overload of bacteria and viruses can be too much for the glands, and an infection is likely to occur.
The Presence of Sulfur Bacteria
One important component behind the formation of the stones is the presence of sulfur-producing bacteria. As debris and bits of debris lodge in the craters of the gland, bacteria will move in as well. The presence of bacteria, and any possible viruses, can then feed on the debris, mixing together and becoming compacted, until a hard stone is created. These stones may grow and develop until they are too painful to ignore.
There are still many specifics regarding the formation of tonsil stones that are unknown. However, this basic understanding of the development of the stones can help you to prevent any further suffering from new stones.
Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Stones
Many people could have small stones without ever being aware of their presence. These small stones might be coughed out or knocked loose as you go through your normal routine of brushing your teeth. However, the presence of larger stones may lead to the following symptoms:
- Frequent and bothersome bad breath
- Painful tonsil infections
- A swollen and sore throat
- The visible appearance of white stones
- A sensation of something at the back of the throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bad tastes in the mouth
It can be difficult to diagnose the presence of tonsil stones, and they are sometimes overlooked even when these symptoms are present. At times it is necessary to run an x-ray or CAT scan in order to verify the presence of the stones.
There are a number of different techniques used to remove stones that have already developed, if the stones have been found. Naturally, some of these techniques will be easy enough to do on your own while others involve surgery or the complete removal of the tonsils.
Prevent the Development of Tonsil Stones
With an understanding of what causes tonsil stones, you will be better prepared to take any steps to prevent the stones. One of the easiest ways to prevent the formation of stones is to brush and gargle directly after eating. This step will remove much of the debris that becomes lodged in the craters of the tonsils. In order to effectively treat the bacteria that lead to stones, you might want to purchase mouthwash or toothpaste with oxygenating properties. These products can reduce the development of stones, alleviate the discomfort and presence of stones that are already present, and are very effective at treating the symptoms of the stones.
Even if you merely suspect the presence of tonsil stones, you might want to add oxygenating washes and toothpaste to your hygiene routine.
Please feel free to contact Ella Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have.
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