Articles, Blog

Why Do I Have Tonsil Stones?

August 14, 2019


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!

25 Comments

  • Reply The Green Bee July 29, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    Does gargling help stop them forming?

  • Reply Kalynn davis July 30, 2019 at 2:34 am

    i had one is sucking ur cheeks in safe cus i did that and it popped out it was a orangey color n now my pouch is flappy feels like it but now i have mucus i think i have something viral cus i had a lung infection but it went away a few months ago

  • Reply Freeda Peeple July 30, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Weird. I've never heard of tonsil stones.

  • Reply Mighty Faith July 31, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    Me i have tonsillitis, im always bad breath im so depressed i went many ent but they only give me a medicine and im taking a lots of medicine but nothing is happening. What can i do? Plss help me or anyone give me suggestion?

  • Reply jademirror August 1, 2019 at 4:50 am

    For most of my childhood people had a hard time understanding me because my tonsils were super large and muffled my voice. My general practitioner at the time said that they were fine.

    A few years later they left and I went to a new GP, and upon discussion of my voice they sent me to an ear, nose and throat specialist, who looked at my throat once and declared my tonsils were long dead.

    They had my tonsils and adenoids removed and for the first time people didn't constantly ask me to repeat what I was saying.

  • Reply J T August 1, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    He is cute. I love his eyes. Chino

  • Reply beatrix the great August 2, 2019 at 5:08 am

    Oh I didn’t realize that was so common. I found loads of those things for years I know I have large tonsils and doctors for years wanted to check me for tonsillitis. I thought they had to do with that.

  • Reply Mary Jane Erard August 2, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    K2 might prevent them.

  • Reply Gen Glissmeyer August 3, 2019 at 9:29 am

    Why did I watch a video on a body part I no longer have? Who knows😂

  • Reply Lucas Levi August 5, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Drink some apple cider vinegar

  • Reply K C August 5, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    I’m very happy to not have tonsils

  • Reply ZS 15 August 6, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    I like it when I get a really big one and I cant help but smell it. I then squash it. Its satisfying.

  • Reply YettyKitty August 7, 2019 at 3:11 am

    I had tonsil stones EVERY SINGLE DAY for about 15 years. I used to push them out of their pockets with Q-Tips. The smell was God awful!!!! I finally had my tonsils out at age 31. Haven’t had a stone since and rarely get a sore throat. Best decision I ever made. Excruciatingly painful, but worth the suffering!! Spent 3 nights in the hospital on Demerol round the clock! Went home with liquid Percocet which made me throw up so I switched to a miracle pain reliever called Stadol NS (a nasal spray for severe pain). It was the only way I could swallow my own saliva and take a few sips of liquid nutrition. The pain was unrelenting and lasted for almost 2 months. Lost 8 pounds (and I was already skinny)!! Still, I’d do it all over again. No more sore throats and no more disgusting tonsil stones! Just do it! You won’t regret it once you’ve recovered.

  • Reply Atheistbatman August 7, 2019 at 11:39 am

    GD
    52
    First I’ve heard
    Disgusting
    Bunch of gd mutants

  • Reply KC Jordan August 7, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    Im 15y/o i
    Have these
    Tonsil stones since almost a year. I
    Remove them by
    Myself i told my parents
    But they said its nothing..‘
    But im
    Tho only one
    Who has that should i go to a doctor or just let it
    ?
    Pleas
    Help!!

  • Reply Justin Perez August 8, 2019 at 9:15 am

    Only only got them after I got my wisdom teeth extracted, my palate and mandible became more narrow.

    Ever notice your tonsils being squeezed back and sagging lower than when you were younger?

    It's probably facial recession due to a poorly developed midface.

  • Reply Tiana Hickman August 9, 2019 at 4:55 am

    I’ve used a Bobby pin (very carefully) to like scoop them out

  • Reply Brianna Long August 9, 2019 at 8:12 am

    I started getting these after my hubby came back from Iraq, so for awhile I legit believed he had brought back some strange mutagen. Ive learned since that it's being over weight and drinking milk. For me at least.

  • Reply Lemongrass August 10, 2019 at 2:31 am

    I legit had my tonsills removed cuz of this. I was 30 and it was the worst pain I ever went through. Im glad its over and I dont regret it.

  • Reply None Ya August 11, 2019 at 5:49 am

    Ahh I remember when I first hacked up one of these…gifts of nature…

  • Reply Elijah Thompson August 12, 2019 at 12:47 am

    who else searched it up because they just had one

  • Reply Miguel Cruz August 12, 2019 at 3:35 am

    My first time getting these should I be worried?

  • Reply T. D. August 12, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    I had this, I removed my tonsils and that was the best idea!

  • Reply Bull's Eye August 12, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    hydra

  • Reply mitchrocks0706 August 14, 2019 at 2:53 am

    If you have tonsils stones use a water pick!!!!

  • Reply Moon Duster19 August 14, 2019 at 8:14 am

    I got my tonsils removed because of these

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