Have you ever wondered what that small, hard, white-yellow lump on the back of your throat was? It may look like a piece of popcorn stuck in the back of your throat, but it could also be a little almond pebble. In any way, it certainly doesn’t taste or smell good!
Tone stones, or tonsillitis, are « calcified structures that grow in your almond cellars. » In other words, they’re formed when bacteria, food particles, and other debris accumulate in the channels (or « crypts ») of the almonds and then harden to form a calcified mass.
Although many people are confronted with almonds, not everyone will notice them because they are often too small to be seen. You can just swallow the mass without knowing it was there. However, it becomes big enough to cause discomfort, sore throat, earaches, tonsillitis, and other unpleasant symptoms: bad breath.
Do You Have Bad Breath Due To Tonsil Stones?
If you suffer from unexplained bad breath, it could be due to your tonsils. Tonsils are believed to affect 16-24% of patients, although they are apparently detected much more frequently in clinical practice.
A study showed that about 40% of patients actually have tonsils. Their prevalence increased with age (and was more common in people between 50 and 69 years of age). On average, patients had 18 stones, each varying in size from 1 to 10 millimeters.
Although their prevalence remains a mystery, little research has been done to determine their exact cause. Maybe that’s because the stones are not generally considered dangerous. However, it is known that they cause bad breath due to their sulfur-containing bacteria.
What Increase the Risk of Tonsil Stones?
Chances of having tonsils are higher if you have large tonsils, and some people have larger tonsils after an illness such as pharyngitis. Dry mouth, a condition caused by many prescription drugs, also increases your risk by allowing anaerobic bacteria to grow.
Bad dental hygiene is also a risk factor. Brushing twice a day (including brushing your tongue) and flossing, as well as regular brushing by a dentist and an oral hygienist, contribute to good oral health. It is equally important to eat healthy foods and avoid sugar and processed foods. If you have tonsils, you can remove them with a tampon or floss and water. Rinsing with salt water can also help clean up garbage and remove stones.
Although tonsil removal (tonsillectomy) is sometimes recommended, there is a significant risk of pain and bleeding, and in the worst case, it should only be used as a last resort.
How to Get Rid of Those Pesky Stinky Stones?
The key to remedying it is making changes to your diet and maintain proper dental care. First of all, avoiding sugars and processed foods will also help prevent the proliferation of bacteria that cause cavities and odor. If you need to freshen up your breath, try the following seven natural options:
- Cucumber: Placing a cucumber slice on top of your mouth can help kill odor-causing bacteria in your mouth. According to Ayurveda’s principles, eating cucumbers can also help release excess heat in the stomach, leading to bad breath.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Gargling with diluted apple cider vinegar can help eliminate bad breath and whiten teeth. However, always keep in mind that apple cider vinegar is very acidic.
- Acetic Acid: The main ingredient is acetic acid, which is quite harsh, so be sure to always dilute it with water before swallowing. Taking pure apple cider vinegar could damage the teeth’ enamel or the tissues of the mouth and throat.
- Peppermint: Pulverized peppermint leaves are traditionally used to freshen the breath and lighten the teeth. You can even put one or two drops of peppermint oil directly into your toothpaste to make it refreshing.
- Oil Pulling: Rinsing your mouth and teeth with coconut oil around your mouth can help freshen your breath. One study found that oil pulling is as effective as a mouthwash in improving bad breath and reducing the microorganisms that can cause it.
- Chewing on Sticks: Chewing on sticks or just tree twigs has antimicrobial properties. Historically, a frayed end would be used as a toothbrush for brushing teeth, while a pointed end served as a toothpick.
- Tree Species: Many tree species have been used to chew on sticks, including tea tree, cinnamon, mango, and dogwood, although neem is probably the best known. If you like this practice very much, today it is prevalent, and its use is even suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Green Tea: Green tea has proven to be very helpful in reducing bad breath. Green tea is very useful in lowering mouth odor thanks to its disinfectant and deodorant features.
- Chew Parsley: Parsley’s bright green color and pasty « green » taste come from its high levels of chlorophyll. This compound has antibacterial and deodorizing properties. Did you know that one hundred milligrams (mg) of chlorophyll neutralized bad breath and odors from perspiration, menstruation, urine, and feces?