I'm about to show you one of the most revoltingpieces of footage I've ever seen. You've been warned. Alright, I know that was deeply horrifying,so let me explain. What I just showed you was called a â€œtonsil stone,â€� or a â€œtonsillolith.â€�And they're really common. In fact, you might have them in your mouth right now. I'm Anna Rothschild, and this is Gross Science. Tonsil stones often occur if you've hadrepeated bouts of tonsillitis, or if you just have largeish tonsils with lots of nooksand crannies. You might not even know you
have them, cause they can grow behind thetonsil where you can't see them. There aren't great estimates for how manypeople have tonsil stones. But in one small study of 150 CT scans of people's heads,about 24% showed signs of them. Though I've seen other studies with higher and lower numbers,as well. There's some debate about how exactly theyform, but what we know is that dead cells, mucus, and food get trapped in the crevicesof the tonsil and harden, or â€œcalcify.â€� Most of the time, the stones are so smallthat they don't pose a problem. But when they're larger they can cause sore throats,ear pain, and really bad breath. That's
because bacteria and other microbes will feaston the globs of organic matter, and the sulfurous waste products they release give off a deeplyunpleasant scent. If you have tonsil stones and they botheryou, some people recommend gargling with salt water or other special mouthwashes, flushingthem out with a water pick, or popping them out with something soft like your finger ora cotton swab. And if the problem gets really severe, your might recommend a tonsillectomyor procedure to smooth out the tonsils. On a personal note, I actually know what havingtonsil stones is like. A bunch of years ago I kept coming down with tonsillitis, and alongwith it I developed some small tonsil stones.
Because I'm me, I was kinda just fascinatedby the whole thing. But, I was totally relieved when they went away. Ew. I don't know about you, but I find thistopic especially gross. Why do you think that isé Let me know in the comments. And for moreGross Science, hit subscribe.
What are the Symptoms of Tonsil Stones
Symptoms of Tonsil StonesYou may be alarmed if you were to look at the back of your throat and see white spotsand bumps on your tonsils. Or worse you may occasionally cough up a mushy, foulsmellinglump. These white bumps are tonsil stones and nothing to worry about, although theyare annoying. What are Tonsil StoneséYour tonsils have several pits and nooks that from time to time catch debris such as mucous,dead cells and bacteria. When these things are fused together within the crevasses onthe tonsils they harden and calcify resulting in a small white lump. Tonsil stones are harmlessalthough they can lead to other serious issues
such as bad breath and sore throats. Mosttonsil stones are quite small, although larger ones have been known to form. What are the Symptoms Associated with TonsilStonesé Sometimes people with tonsil stones do nothave symptoms. However there are a series of mild symptoms associated with tonsil stonessuch as: â€¢ Bad breathâ€¢ A feeling of having something stuck in your throatâ€¢ Difficulty swallowing â€¢ Sore throatâ€¢ Ear ache
â€¢ Recurring tonsillitis How Can I Treat Tonsil StoneséFor people with tonsil stones without symptoms no treatment is necessary. Others may chooseto remove visible stones on their own with a toothbrush, cotton swap or a water flossingdevice. Gargling with salt water is also helpful. In cases where tonsil stones are causing painand tonsillitis the last resort is to remove the tonsils. An ear, nose and throat specialistcan help you remove tonsil stones and determine if your case is severe enough to warrant atonsillectomy. The best way to prevent tonsil stones from forming is to practice good oralhygiene on a regular daily basis.