If you’ve seen those white little balls in the back of your throat you’re wondering how to remove a tonsil stone, especially if it seems to be stuck. Tonsil stones or tonsilliliths, their proper medical term, is a condition which is very common and tends to be recurring. First let’s look at the reasons for this condition.
Tonsilliliths are very likely caused by a combination of factors. Dead white blood cells, overactive salivary glands, oral bacteria, mucous secretions, including post nasal drip and residue from food can combine to create the white balls referred to as tonsil stones. The environment in the back of the throat, and more specifically behind and between the tonsils is perfect for tonsilliliths to grow.
Tonsilliliths are usually very small in size, about a couple millimeters in width, and are rarely big. However, once they come out the smell is quite unpleasant and disgusting. If you’ve had them for a while or just started with this problem don’t be alarmed, this is not a symptom of a dangerous condition. Although it is not a cause for alarm it is definitely a nuisance.
So now let’s look at what you can do to remove a tonsil stone, especially if it is hard to reach or is stuck in your throat.
The first thing you want to do is gargle with mouthwash or with hydrogen peroxide. A second method to use is brushing your teeth with baking soda. Both of these methods will often times loosen them and they may even just come out of your throat thereby having to do more.
The next options you have to remove a tonsil stone is the following:
- Using Q-Tips or fingers to dislodge them: use either one to scrape or scoop off the tonsillilith but this may be a bit uncomfortable if you gag
- Another technique is by pressing a finger or cotton swab against the bottom of the tonsil and pushing upward. The pressure acts to squeeze out the stone. Again the gag reflex may be uncomfortable
- Using your tongue to loosen them and dislodging them: if you have a strong and flexible tongue this works well and avoids the gag problem
- Flexing your throat: by flexing your throat this adds pressure and can cause the tonsillilith to come out
One thing to add is I wouldn’t recommend using a sharp object such as a toothpick or pin as this may cause a cut or scratch which could lead to infection.
Always remember to use consistent and proper oral hygiene on a daily basis such as thorough brushing of the teeth, tongue and roof of the mouth, gargling and flossing. Doing this will help a long way with this problem.