What are tonsil stones?

Have you ever experienced a bumpy tonsil accompanied by a scratchy sore throat and bad breath? This could be a sign that you are having tonsillitis, common referred to as tonsil stones. Everyone with a tonsil may have experienced tonsil stones at one time in life. Tonsils are part of the lymphatic system and its main function is to defend the body against infections caused by bacteria and viruses. However, some occurrences may alter the proper functioning of the tonsil. One of them is tonsil stones which can be a nuisance to their horrible smell.

Though medics don’t consider them as dangerous, quick action should be taken once tonsil stones are detected. Big tonsil stones can be painful and can cause discomfort when swallowing food. The stones are formed when dead tissues, bacteria, mucous as well as viruses accumulate forming hard calcified structures in the throat. They form when such debris attach to the crevices along the tonsils. They are irregular in shape and can vary in size, with some growing to a quarter an inch in size.


One of the main symptoms of tonsil stones is bad breath. Medical research associates the bad breath with the presence of sulfur compounds in the tonsils. High levels of sulfur substances have an unpleasant smell that causes bad breath.

People experiencing tonsil stones can also experience a sore throat. Though a sore throat is mainly associated with a throat infection, it can also occur in people experiencing tonsil stones. This will cause difficulties when swallowing food. This is especially common when the stones enlarge.

Swelling of the tonsils can also occur due to the hard formations of debris in the tonsils. This inflammation can cause choking due to the limited passage of food. As a result, eating or drinking liquids can be painful.


There are different home remedies as well as medical treatments depending on the situation and size. The best home remedy is salt water gargle. This will soothe the throat and reduce the discomfort caused being experienced

Doctors can also prescribe specific antibiotics though this can have side effects. In extreme cases, surgical removal of the tonsil stones may be recommended. This is the best alternative when the stones have enlarged and are causing real discomfort. However, this is done using a local anesthesia.

Other Recommended Sources
Wikiepdia – tonsil stones
Tonsil stones article
Another excellent Tonsil stones post
WebMd – tonsil stones