Tonsil Stones: The Causes, Signs And Symptoms

What is a tonsil stone? Tonsil stones are also called tonsilloliths, and are a buildup of hardened or calcified material in the tonsils or crevices around the tonsils. Made up of extremely odorous material, tonsil stones often cause severely bad breath. The tonsillolith comes from bacteria or dead cells that have built up in pits or fissures around enlarged tonsils.


What causes tonsil stones? Many factors can contribute to the development of a tonsil stone. Sometimes debris such as food becomes entrapped around the tonsils and begins to accumulate and harden over time with other bacteria. Mucous secretions from the nose may also contribute to this bacterial buildup. Tonsil stones are usually found in adults, and are typically associated with people that have enlarged tonsils.

Signs and symptoms that accompany tonsil stones include:

  • Bad breath

  • Trouble swallowing

  • Visible white film or stones on the tonsils

  • Swollen tonsils

  • Throat discomfort

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