Tonsils are a pair of fleshy tissues situated over the back of the throat. Tonsil stones are small, round shaped, whitish or yellowish white solid masses that occur in the crypts of the tonsil. These stones are developed after recurrent episodes of infection in the tonsil or medically termed as tonsillitis. Pain in the throat, malaise and other flu like symptoms are common indicators of tonsillitis. In addition, there is foul smelling breath if tonsil stone is formed.
What are tonsil stones ?
Tonsils are actually the preliminary defense of our immunity system. They contain lymphocytes which have the power to kill the intruding bacteria or viruses. When the bacteria or viruses try to pass this structure, they are arrested inside the tonsillar tissues and the lymphocytes are released. Consequently, these organisms are killed. In the process, some of the healthy tonsillar tissues are also destroyed. Both of the dead tissues pile up inside the crypts present in the tonsil. After that, minerals like calcium and magnesium help them to fuse together to form a solid mass – the tonsil stone or medically termed as tonsillolith. As the stone increases in size, the central part gets disintegrated in the presence of sulfur producing bacteria and some gases are released. Presence of these gases gives rise to bad breath.
Tonsil Stone Causes
Inadequate oral hygiene is the single major tonsil stones cause. If you do not brush your teeth regularly, bacterial growth occurs in the oral tissues including tonsil. The remnant of the food particle potentiates bacterial growth. Some people are prone to develop tonsil stone whereas others are not so. Why a person will develop tonsil stone has not been scientifically understood.
A person having suboptimal immunity suffers from different infections. Bacteria and virus can easily multiply in their body. There is a fair chance for recurrent tonsillitis in these persons.
Congenital defect in the mouth like cleft palate or bifid uvula potentiates the growth of opportunistic bacteria and in turn these patients can suffer from tonsil stone.
Recurrent frontal and maxillary sinusitis also blamed for persistent tonsillitis. In turn they can produce tonsil stone also.
In some persons, the salivary glands present in the oral cavity produce more mucus than a normal person. Presence of excess mucus can help in calcification of the dead cells.