Why Do I Have Tonsil Stones?

Why Do I Have Tonsil Stones?


A sore throat can be a sign of all kinds of
medical maladies. You might have caught a cold from your coworkers,
or just cheered too loudly at the big game last night. But if it feels like there’s an irritating
lump in your throat, there might actually be something stuck back there: a whitish-yellowish
tonsil stone. These hard globs come from the food bits,
dead cells, and other junk in your mouth. But even though they might be a little weird
and uncomfortable and gross, they’re not really dangerous. Your tonsils are part of your lymphatic system. They work with a bunch of other tissues to
get rid of waste, and fight off infections. There are actually three different groups
of tonsils, but tonsil stones mostly show up in the palatine tonsils The palatine tonsils are those two squishy
patches at the back of your throat that you can see in the mirror if you open your mouth
wide enough. The palatine tonsils are full of tonsillar
crypts, which are deep folds of tissue that are designed to lure in bacteria and maximize
the amount of tissue that those bacteria touch. That way, lots of immune cells can be exposed
to potential pathogens, and start to build up a targeted immune response with antibodies
to fight them off. Unfortunately, when you have cozy crevices
for bacteria, sometimes they get a little too comfortable. These crypts can collect dead cells, extra
mucus, and food debris or other particles that somehow end up in your mouth – which
provide a delicious breeding ground for lots of different microbes. After a film of bacteria forms, these goopy
lumps can start to calcify, becoming hard structures made of calcium and other minerals. The solid lumps that form are called tonsil
stones, or tonsilloliths. Tonsil stones can vary in size from a couple
millimeters to a couple centimeters. Sometimes people just swallow them, or sometimes
they stick around and can irritate your throat. Some bacteria that have been found on tonsil
stones produce lots of sulfur compounds, which might cause bad breath. But that’s usually the worst of it. It’s really rare for tonsil stones to get
big enough to be dangerous and make swallowing painful or difficult. If you want to get rid of them, you can try
to pop them out using a brush or some gargling. Or you can go to an ear, nose, and throat
doctor for extra help. Tonsil-removing surgery is a last resort,
if these chunks form all the time, or become severely irritating. Other than surgery, there’s not much you
can do to stop tonsil stones from forming. They’re just one of those weird things your
body does sometimes. But at least they’re not dangerous. Thanks for asking, and thanks especially to
all of our patrons on Patreon who keep these answers coming. If you’d like to support us on Patreon,
you can go to patreon.com/scishow. And don’t forget to go to youtube.com/scishow
and subscribe!

100 comments on “Why Do I Have Tonsil Stones?

  1. Count Cleavage Post author

    Today I found one of those crypts behind my tongue, and it had some gnarly stuff in there. The way I got most of it out was by using a tongue depressor, and using Q tips to prod at it. When I gagged it would eventually open and push some of the stuff out. I also ordered an oral irrigator with a tapered end; i'm going to fill it with hydrogen peroxide and flush it out with water after.

    Reply
  2. That Kro Kro Bird Post author

    I used to get them all the time until I change my diet. It's when I eat too much garbage and junk food that they'll develop again

    Reply
  3. Don’t let them take our maymays Post author

    Short answer: bacteria n food. And if you get excessive tonsil stones go see a doc. Cuz you could have a lot of bacteria on your tonsils.

    Reply
  4. Lioness006 Post author

    I HATE tonsil stones! They're annoying and I always get weird tasting/smelling burps when I have a lot of them.

    Reply
  5. V_ Syncc Post author

    Today I was just lying on my bed when some tonsil stone just plopped out. I didn’t know what it was at the time and I decided to smell it and it was one of the worst things I’ve smelled. I have good hygiene brush twice a day, floss, and mouth wash everyday.

    Reply
  6. Corwyn Warwaruk Post author

    These disappear on a low carbohydrate diet! I had them all he time & when I went to a very low carb diet these tonsil stones disappeared!

    Reply
  7. Benjamin Liang Post author

    I just had one. And it smells so unique you want to keep smelling it. Also I think I’ve had a large green one in the middle of class.

    Reply
  8. Omar Salazar Post author

    If you can with your finger inside your mouth press on the side of your tonsil (side closest to your cheek) and you'll see them start gushing out from the middle.

    Sit in front of a mirror and Have a flashlight (phone flash) placed pointing into your mouth and q-tips ready to collect them you need 2 hands free.

    One pushing on your tonsil and the other collecting with a q-tip

    This will change your life, you're welcome in advance lol

    Reply
  9. Maenza Creations Post author

    I had them for a spell in my teens. Called them "throat chunks." Made me think of human ambergris.

    Reply
  10. P JB Post author

    I love smashing them between my fingers and either sniffing it or smearing it along my upper lip so I keep the essence.

    Reply
  11. dorothy murillo Post author

    Yes I get them to I used to think it was tortillas stuck in the crevices went to the Dr cause I kept getting them and yes they stink to me like does green mosquitoes I removed one and smashed it and that was the last time I French kissed lol all you can do is clean them out it’s just food that gets caught up in there I know when I have them cause my throat starts to hurt a bit just be gentle and rinse with mouth wash I like scope🤓

    Reply
  12. AnnaIsNotABanana Post author

    One time I was laying there trying to fall asleep when out of nowhere I coughed one up. I was terrified cause I had no idea these were even a thing. I was scared to look cause I thought a bug must’ve crawled down my throat or something lmao

    Reply
  13. Cody Hodson Post author

    I don't have tonsils. At least I was pretty sure of that until I found out there were three different tonsils. Were they all removed? How do I figure that out?

    Reply
  14. Lemon Grabloids Post author

    My daughter kept getting these and they STUNK – so we got her tonsils taken out. Problem solved.

    Reply
  15. Cringe Lord Post author

    I just had my first one… this is tmi but I just finished giving my bf a BJ and felt like I had pube stuck in the back of my throat or something lmao so I’m trying to get it out coughing and what not… eventually I get fed up and shine a light in my throat and see a big white spot.. I was super freaked out not knowing what is was and got a q-tip to pressed it and it squeezed right out like a pimple 🤣🤣 it was so nasty yet satisfying at the same time lmao I think the blow job was what brought it to the surface. I didn’t smell it like all the comments lmao just thew it away

    Reply
  16. Katana E Post author

    I remembered getting one for the first time and thought it was left over popcorn,
    I took it out and threw it back in my month

    Reply
  17. shermanmakayla Post author

    I had tonsil stones for almost half of my life .. (22) I had enlarged tonsils getting them removed was the best decision I made !!

    Reply
  18. The bad guy's evil Twin Post author

    I don't know how they smell
    But bruh swallowing is difficult when you have them
    I didn't eat for 3 days it was so bad I couldn't even drink water

    Reply
  19. WPXTacoMan477 Post author

    My grandpa used to always have such terrible breath, infact, it drove him crazy to the point he was brushing and flossing and using mouth wash 4-5 times a day and just never knew.. he since has passed a few years ago, and shortly after, about a couple months, I found out that it was tonsil stones.. I found out because I saw it in my mouth when my throat hurt and I was checking for signs of strept.. I miss my grandpa.. I wish I could’ve found that out sooner so he could’ve known and had non death breath for a short time

    Reply
  20. Clorox Bleach Post author

    I once had a stubborn tonsil stone that would not come out..
    it didn’t come out until one day when I was giving some sloppy toppy, it got knocked loose when I was jamming my tonsils with the meat stick

    Reply
  21. LeBrey Lowery Post author

    To be honest you don't have to have the tonsil stone inside the pockets…in order for it to smell.. smell like straight hell itself. People don't wanna bother you..it's sooo depressing…

    Reply
  22. Junaid Baton Post author

    I got bumps like there is something on my throat which is not going down… But when I touch I can feel bumps like big pimples starting from the back of my toungue going down my throat.. What could that be?

    Reply
  23. Morgan's World Post author

    I get them like everyday or every other day, but very often and it’s like they keep coming and I try to push them out but it can get rlly uncomfortable and too much pushing with cause bruising and it will hurt. I just wanna get my tonsils removed so I don’t have to deal with stones anymore it’s such a pain in the ass and it gets all up in my throat and it’s rlly uncomfortable. What do you think I should do?

    Reply
  24. Alison Rankin Post author

    I hate these so much. I feel like i constantly have bad breath and a weird taste in my mouth even right after I brush. I constantly feel like I have a lump in my throat but I look at my throat with a flashlight and I dont see anything. I try to gargle it doesnt do anything. I just randomly cough them up occasionally.

    Reply
  25. reicirith Post author

    It's kind of creepy that I dislodged one of these buggers yesterday, and I hadn't even done a google search about it, and this video popped up. Crazy coincidence.

    Reply
  26. 3HAKIS Post author

    The tonsils function as the body's initial line of defense in the mouth. As integral parts of the immune system, these structures protect the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts by attacking any viruses, bacteria, and debris that enter the mouth. Your primary tonsils (the palatine tonsils) are located at the back of the throat, on the left and ride sides respectively. The adenoids (the pharyngeal tonsils) are near the nasal cavity, and the lingual tonsils are at the back of the throat. These structures can develop complications like tonsil stones.

    Many people undergo treatments for issues related to tonsil stones, as these lymphatic organs sometimes act as more of a liability to your health than an asset. When infection occurs, the tonsils can create significant health problems such as airway obstruction and greater susceptibility to repeated infections. Each tonsil is composed of an intricate network of crypts that contain cells that fight infection. If a foreign substance like a virus or a bacterium infects these crypts, the tonsils can trap the debris. Once the debris is trapped, it can combine with mucous from the throat or postnasal area and become concentrated into tonsil stones.

    Tonsil stones, also known as tonsilloliths, are the result of the trapped debris that has hardened inside crypts in the tonsils. These stones can be smelly and look like small, white chunks. They may sometimes become loosened and coughed up into the mouth. Individuals who suffer from chronic inflammation in their tonsils or repeated tonsillitis are the most at risk for experiencing tonsil stones, since frequent infections can cause the tonsils to become swollen, red, and inflamed continuously.

    If you are experiencing symptoms such as a sore throat, bad breath, or breathing issues, see your doctor or an ear, nose, and throat specialist. He or she can examine your head, neck, and mouth to determine the cause of your symptoms. If he or she observes that your tonsils are enlarged and have white, hardened stones, your healthcare provider may recommend the surgical removal of the stones. In some cases, the tonsils themselves may need to be removed to prevent frequent infections and stone-formation.

    We made a video on how to easily get rid of tonsil stones permanently in less than 3 days. Also check it out.

    Reply
  27. Karen M. Post author

    Gosh, these things made me paranoid that I was ill and needed a tonsillectomy. Nasty little buggers, you can help them get out by using the opposite end of the toothbrush and press the nearby tissues. This can pop them out a bit while you dislodge them with a q-tip or finger. Gargling with salt water afterwards if there is irritation or tiny amount of bleeding. Avoid mucus provoking things like smoking/vaping, cows milk and other dairy products may be a culprit. Try a week or 2 off of cheese and milk, yogurts and such…it might prove the mucus is from that. Also heavy consumption of fried foods can contribute. White coating on the tounge is common in American diet, heavy on fat, dairy ect. Try vegetarian eating for a while also. Lay off butter, cream, milk and cheese and too much burger, fries and pizza. Sounds lame but it works on that tounge coating.
    Gargling with Listerine might be good too. Chew gum to keep saliva flowing and rinsing the back of the mouth and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. They are stinkers!

    Reply
  28. faith over fear Post author

    I am very grateful. My tonsils were a mess, I used to get strep so much, they wanted to get rid of them. Thankfully, my tonsils heard that and started getting it together. I haven't had a problem since.

    Reply
  29. alexa Saint Post author

    So I had a lump in my throat and I KNEW it was this cause my sister had them before and so I poked at it trying to get it out and it didn’t budge. Buttttt thennnnn just as I was losing hope i felt something go down my throat and so I coughed it back out. It was very disgusting cause that was my first one ever

    Reply
  30. Breona Warren Post author

    I get tonsil tones but my friend in college, her tonsils were grey with puss & she had strep and tonsillitis. They were so swollen She couldn’t really talk or breath. Her mom had to take her to 3 doctors before one agreed to remove them

    Reply
  31. Jessica Leigh Post author

    I get them often, but I did the keto diet for almost a year and they went away during that time, I recently stopped the diet and started eating carbohydrates again and I’m getting them all the time again.

    For me it’s the sugar/carbs that cause these nasty guys

    Reply
  32. Hm Comps Post author

    There are a few factors in curing tonsil stones. One resource I discovered that successfully combines these is the Simons Stone Stopper (google it if you're interested) without a doubt the most helpful treatment i've seen.Check out all the awesome information .

    Reply
  33. Hood 11 Post author

    I started smoking 1 week ago and i have these white thingy inside my mouth. Is it throat cancer or just a normal infection? Please help.

    Reply
  34. Aser Dada Post author

    There are a few components to curing tonsil stones. One plan I found which successfully combines these is the Simons Stone Stopper (google it if you're interested) definately the no.1 remedy that I have ever seen.look at the awesome information .

    Reply
  35. Former Things Post author

    Stainless steel tongue scrape all the way at the back of the tongue and gargle with 50/50 water and peroxide.

    Reply
  36. ali bazzi Post author

    I constantly get them, they are a curse. I brush my teeth 3 times a day, floss, gurgle with mouth wash, and I constantly chew gum. AND YET, my breath smells like crap constantly. I am honestly considering removing my tonsils just because these will ruin my chance of ever getting into a relationship (they already ruined one).

    Reply
  37. Jonah Spring Post author

    After more than a year of having a big right tonsil, I felt an irritating lump two weeks ago. I thought it was an ulcer forming but it wasn't painful. On day 2, I decided to check it out and voila! There was a white- yellowish patch which I figured out was a tonsil stone. I tried to take it out with my finger but only a small portion came out. When I got home, I tried to poke again but it just bled. Any 1.5 weeks later, I woke up with that irritating feeling in my throat again. Sure enough, it was my tonsil stone poking out. I got my pimple remover and use the circle tip and poked inside the tonsil stone area. I managed to scoop a few bits. It looked like I've taken everything but the OCD in me made me poke more. And alas! More came out. One big poke and grunt later, a big tonsil stone that size of a small mung bean came out. What was left is a reddish hole with no white edge around it. I knew it was all gone. The tonsil stone didn't smell as bad as I imagined it to be. It was smelly but more like when you've forgotten to brush after 12 hours. The consistency is more like those nuts that get stuck in between your teeth. You can crush the tonsil stone with your fingers. And so with that, I brushed, flossed and gargled with Listerine to cleanse my throat and disinfect the area. Thanks for reading my tonsil stone testimony. 😂

    Reply
  38. Virakyuth Uzumaki Post author

    When it came out of my mouth at first I thought it was food that stuck in my teeth and it smell like hell, and I thought it was stuck in my mouth for months and I ate it ewww😂
    At first I thought I was the only person on earth have it

    Reply
  39. Hm Comps Post author

    Thanks for the video content! Sorry for the intrusion, I would love your thoughts. Have you tried – Parlandealey Mouth Cure Process (do a search on google)? It is an awesome one of a kind guide for learning how to cure tonsil stones without the headache. Ive heard some extraordinary things about it and my GF after many years got amazing success with it.

    Reply
  40. Hunter Hunter Post author

    Excellent Video clip! Forgive me for the intrusion, I am interested in your initial thoughts. Have you considered – Parlandealey Mouth Cure Process (probably on Google)? It is an awesome one of a kind product for learning how to cure tonsil stones without the normal expense. Ive heard some interesting things about it and my mate got cool results with it.

    Reply

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