If you've ever felt a tiny, hard object in the back of your throat, only to spit it out and discover a yellow-brown nugget that smells like exhaled vapor from the encrusted bowels of The Devil Himself, then you've encountered one of nature's cruelest obstacles to conversation, social discourse, and kissing: the tonsil stone, also known as the tonsillolith.
But what are tonsil stones and how can we get rid of them?
According to MedicalDaily, tonsil stones are formed when food particles, bacteria, and muscus combine and harden into these tiny stones in the crevices behind and around the tonsils. For the most part, they remain too small to pose a problem, however...
It's when they grow that they can cause some pretty nasty issues.
As Gross Science host Anna Rothschild points out, tonsil stones can range from quite small to the size of a pea, but as they get larger, the bacteria that feeds on them can create incredibly disgusting, sulfurous smells that could gag a maggot.
Beyond that, these nasty little things can cause sore throats, problems with swallowing, and ear pain if they get REALLY big.
How can you get rid of them?
Most bad breath can be taken care of with regular brushing and flossing before you get into bed and after you get up. With tonsil stones, however. it's not a question of scrubbing out a stale mouth.
Gargling, either with mouthwash or salt water, can help, as can the use of a waterpik. The main idea is to get the stones loose and then spit them out.
Larger stones may require more... on-hands... methods of removal: a finger or a cotton swab may help.
This video explains it all.
The only SURE way to get rid of them is to get a tonsillectomy.
But that should really only be done in severe cases.
Keep on brushing.
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