Tonsil stones can be uncomfortable and extremely smelly, even if you aren’t able to see them. If you suspect that you have a tonsil stone but can’t see it, no matter how hard you look for it, there are still some ways that you can remove it.
To remove hidden tonsil stones you can’t see, gargle with salt water, vinegar, or a hydrogen peroxide solution, which will soften and loosen the tonsil stones while also killing the bacteria that cause them to stink. Eating acidic and antibacterial foods like onions, garlic, apples can also break down hidden tonsil stones.
In this article, I’ll talk about how you can tell whether you have a tonsil stone or not. I’ll also walk you through removing and treating tonsil stones, even if you can’t see them in the mirror.
How To Tell If You Have Tonsil Stones
Tonsil stones — or tonsilloliths, throat pearls, etc. — are small, whitish growths that form in and around the folds and craters of your tonsils and adenoids. Sometimes, these growths are so small and deeply tucked away in your throat that you can’t see them, making them quite difficult to detect.
Still, there are several symptoms of tonsil stones that may indicate that you do have one:
- Halitosis: Halitosis is the medical name for bad breath. Halitosis is the main symptom of tonsil stones, caused by anaerobic bacteria that release volatile sulfur compounds, which smell like sulfur, rotten eggs, or farts coming from your mouth.
- Pain in your throat: Sometimes, if your tonsil stone is large enough or in an uncomfortable spot, you might experience sharp, stinging pain when you swallow food or liquids. This is especially true if the tonsil stone has become rock hard.
- Itchy throat or cough: Tonsil stones can be hard, and they may irritate your throat, causing a persistent cough or a tickling feeling deep in your throat.
- Earaches: Since your tonsils are close to your ears and they both share nerve pathways, pain caused by a tonsil stone can radiate to your ear.
- Swollen tonsils: Tonsil stones usually form in the presence of a bacterial infection, and your tonsils may become swollen, red, or painful in response.
Tonsil stones often go undiagnosed until they become large and painful, especially if they’re not visible with an oral examination. Often what happens is that tonsil stones will grow so large you can’t remove them by conventional means, initiating a trip to your doctor.
Still, if you suspect that you might have a tonsil stone or have any of these symptoms, it doesn’t hurt to treat them just in case.
Remove Hidden Tonsil Stones With Gargling
Gargling and rinsing your throat with an acidic antibacterial solution is one of the best ways to remove tonsil stones since there’s little risk of damaging your tonsils, which are very sensitive and prone to rupture.
Gargling is an excellent treatment for many oral conditions, such as gingivitis, tonsillitis, and more. So there’s no harm in using a gargle to cleanse your throat and mouth, even if you’re not sure that you have tonsil stones.
That means that they will soften your tonsil stones, freshen your breath, kill the bacteria that cause the stones to smell, reduce the inflammation in your tonsils, and break down the mucus that keeps your tonsil stones stuck to your throat.
How to Remove Tonsil Stones With Gargling
To use a gargle to treat and remove your tonsil stones:
- Mix your solution. In a clean cup, mix a solution of water and the antibacterial agent that you choose. For hydrogen peroxide, mix one part of food-grade peroxide with one part water. For salt, mix one teaspoon of salt with one cup of water. For vinegar, mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with one cup of water.
- Gargle. For the best results, vigorously gargle your solution for at least 90 seconds or until you can’t anymore. Push the liquid to your throat and gargle deeply. The longer you gargle and the more vigorously you do it, the more likely it is that you’ll remove your tonsil stone.
- Spit. After you spit out your solution, you can choose to let the traces of the solution rest in your mouth, but if you do so, don’t swallow anything. The stones may have come loose while you gargled. Consuming one can be a choking hazard, and it could introduce an infection to your digestive system.
- Rinse. With water, vigorously gargle and swish to remove any loosened bits of your tonsil stone and the rest of your solution. Gargle for at least 60 seconds and spit.
- Cough. If you don’t think you got your tonsil stone out, coughing can constrict your throat, knocking loose any debris trapped behind your tonsils.
- Rinse again. One last rinse can ensure that any loosened bits of your tonsil stone or bacteria come out. Vigorously gargle and spit.
If It Didn’t Work …
If this process doesn’t work right away, don’t fret. You may have to repeat this process several times a day for several weeks to see results. However, most people find that my tonsil stone dissolver recipe is effective within the first few days, if not immediately.
Usually, it’s recommended that people with tonsil stones gargle this way every time they eat. Doing so will remove excess bacteria, loosened bits of your tonsil stone, and the sugars that feed the bacteria that live in your throat.
If you suffer from chronic tonsil stones or want to prevent them, using this simple gargling routine can keep your tonsil stones at bay. If you’re trying to prevent tonsil stones, gargle once a day, either in the morning or at night.
So, if you start to feel soreness in your throat or smell a tonsil stone forming in your throat, pull out the gargle and get rinsing.
More Tips for Removing Hidden Tonsil Stones
If you want to do everything you can to eliminate your tonsil stone, there are several other at-home methods that you can use.
Even if you can’t reach or see your tonsil stone, these methods can help you:
- Essential oils. Antibacterial essential oils such as clove, lemongrass, cinnamon, and myrrh can fight against the bacteria that grow in and around your tonsil stone. Put a drop on your toothbrush any time you brush your teeth to help soften and loosen your tonsil stone, or apply directly with a cotton swab.
- Eat acidic and antibacterial foods. Foods such as onions, garlic, apples, and carrots can help break down tonsil stones and kill the bacterial growths that cause tonsil stones in the first place.
- Low PSI water flosser. Using a manual pump oral irrigator or an ultra low psi water flosser inside the crypts and folds of your tonsils will, in most cases, flush out any developing tonsil stones. It’s like strip mining.
- Vibration. I discovered this when I was massaging my neck. Using a muscle vibrator around your throat and ears can be extremely effective in dislodging stubborn tonsil stones, plus you can use it for melting away muscle knots.
When To See a Doctor for Tonsil Stones
It’s usually best to try to treat your tonsil stones at home with gargling. But if your stone is very large or won’t come out, even after over two weeks of gargling at least three times a day, you may want to consider a visit to your doctor.
If your doctor does find that you have tonsil stones, there are several treatments that they might offer. The most common treatments are antibiotics and antihistamines, both of which can fight your infection and swelling. And both of which you can purchase over the counter, at your local grocery store.
If you have a large tonsil stone that won’t go away with antibiotics, your doctor may recommend several treatments.
- Coblation cryptolysis is a process in which your doctor will use a particular salt solution treated with radio waves to cut through some of the crevices in your tonsils. This treatment can remove stones and reduce the likelihood of getting more tonsil stones in the future.
- Laser cryptolysis is a process in which your doctor uses a laser to remove some of the crypts, or crevices, around your tonsils so that tonsil stones cannot get lodged within them. Other, more intensive processes for people who suffer from severe infections and chronic tonsil stones include tonsillectomy.
Even if you can’t see your tonsil stone, you can still remove it.
Gargling is the best way to remove tonsil stones since it doesn’t introduce more infections to your tonsils and won’t damage them in the process. Gargling with salt water, hydrogen peroxide, or vinegar offers many benefits, and if you use it consistently, you can remove your tonsil stones and get rid of them for good.
Definitely check out the rest of my blog for more information on living a life free of tonsil stones!