If you do not want to deal with throat discomfort or bad breath in the future then it is imperative that you understand on how to prevent tonsil stones.
Tonsils are sentinels which stand guard over the throat, ensuring that foreign invaders like bacteria, dust, food, dead cells and debris do not invade the delicate tissue of the lungs and the intestines.
They are the largest and at their largest during childhood. Tonsils are particularly active during this stage of life as the first line of defense. However, as one grows older, the immune system of the body gets more educated and replaces a part of the function.
Contrary to popular belief, stones do not form in the kidneys alone; in fact one of the common locations for tonsil stones are tonsils.
Yet another myth that needs to be busted, is the common misconception that tonsils cause tonsil stones. Experts say that tonsils merely provide the right place for the tonsil stones to form and are in no way responsible for the formation of these potentially intimidating stones.
Tonsil stones or tonsilloliths, as they are better known in medical terminology; are typically formed due to the accumulation of sulphur producing anaerobic bacteria and debris. The incriminating bacteria and debris tends to get lodged in the crevices or crypts present in the tonsil tissue. Here is our detailed article about what causes tonsil stones.
These sulphur producing bacteria are commonly present below the tongue, in the oral cavity and are an important trigger in the formation of tonsil stones.
Although, simply adopting several correcting lifestyle measures like better oral hygiene or switching to a healthy diet plan may be adequate. However, there would be instances when this will not work.
All that you would need to do is to inspect the upper surface of the tongue. If it is fuzzy and white; the logical conclusion is that there is an abundant growth and deposit of anaerobic bacteria on it and this could well translate into tonsil stones in the near future.
How To Prevent Tonsil Stones
Prevention is invariably far superior to treating and some may even consider prevention as a superior form of cure, considering that you are treating the condition before it actually occurs.
Tonsil stones can be both intimidating as well as embarrassing, they are associated with bad breath as a predominant symptom. If you have ever contracted tonsil stones or know someone who has, you would well be aware of the fact that this is one condition which may be accompanied with a persistent sensation of an irritating lump in the back of the throat and severe throat pain.
Some of the measures that minimize the probability of developing tonsil stones include:
One of the causes of early formation of tonsil stones is food particles getting lodged between the teeth. These food particles tend to decay over time, which leads to a significant increase in the number of bacteria in the oral cavity.
Thus, it is important that one brushes the teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once at bedtime.
Plaque is home to anaerobic bacteria and when the plaque forms, the probability of early formation of tonsil stones is inordinately high.
Brush your teeth regularly to keep your mouth free of bacteria at all times.
Brushing helps, however there will be instances wherein bacteria tends to get accumulated over the surface of the tongue. In these instances, mere brushing will not help and tongue scraping helps.
The process is simple, keep the tongue in an extended position by pushing it out of the mouth and then scraping the surface of the tongue vigorously using a tongue scraper.
One of the more effective options is to brush with oxygenating toothpaste. These toothpastes have the inherent ability to lift the incriminating bacteria from the surface of the tongue and prevent their accumulation.
Brushing combined with tongue scraping is even more effective.
This is yet another modality which helps keep the oral cavity clean and free from bacteria. Gargling helps dislodge the food particles, mucus and debris, which may have got impacted between the teeth.
The recommended option is to gargle regularly with warm water and salt after every meal and once at bedtime.
When one uses oxygenating mouthwashes, the results are even more encouraging. This could be attributed to the fact that oxygenating mouthwashes are known to complement the effects of oxygenating toothpastes.
These mouthwashes can remove dead cells, debris and bacteria, which would have otherwise led to the formation of tonsil stones.
Floss and Mouthwash
Flossing your teeth regularly definitely helps. This is best done immediately after brushing and can be carried out in regions of the oral cavity where the toothbrush is unable to reach.
Concurrently, you could even use a mouthwash which does not have an alcohol base if you would like to prevent getting tonsil stones in the future. Studies have concluded that alcohol based mouthwashes dry out the mouth and result in an increased probability of contracting tonsil stones and bad breath.
It is also not advisable to drink alcohol if you have a history of tonsil stones or are currently carrying some.
Secretions from the nose run down the throat and may subsequently accumulate in the base of the throat and on the tonsils, leading to early formation of tonsil stones. When secretions trickle down the throat, the condition is better connoted as a post nasal drip.
This is best prevented by regularly cleaning out the nasal cavity. You can clean it manually or by using an effective irrigation system.
In case the mouth is dry due to inadequate secretion of saliva by the salivary glands, nasal secretions will become thick and viscous. This would subsequently lead to fast multiplication of the incriminating bacteria at a very rapid rate. The outcome may be tonsil stones.
Hydrate for Health
To reiterate, experiencing a dry mouth and throat can be dangerous. It creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and helps in rapid multiplication of these sulphur emitting anaerobic bacteria. Thus, experts recommend keeping the mouth and the throat moist and hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Doctors recommend drinking plenty of water, which should be consumed at regular intervals throughout the day.
Concurrently, regular flushing with water ensures that tonsil stones do not lodge or grow in the crypts and crevices present in the tonsil tissue.
It is more than evident that good oral health must be maintained at all times if one is to stay free of tonsil stones. One particularly beneficial natural remedy is grapefruit seed extract, which has been found to be particularly effective for improing oral hygiene.
Grapefruit seed extract has strong anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. which ensures that anaerobic bacteria are not formed. Grapefruit seed extract is best used in a diluted form for gargling. It would dislodge existing tonsil stones and will prevent the formation of new stones.
Keep it Moist
Sugar free chewing gums are an innovative option, which increases the production of saliva and keeps the sulphur producing bacteria in control. Thus, minimizing the probability of forming tonsil stones.
If drinking plenty of water is important, learning what not to drink is critical. Dieticians recommend avoiding carbonated drinks if one would like to prevent the formation of tonsil stones.
Carbonated drinks are known to dry out the mouth and the throat. These drinks are similar in action to alcohol and can trigger off a multiplication of tonsil stones.
Sugar is yet another trigger that can increase the production of anaerobic bacteria, which may form tonsil stones. Thus, sugared teas and sodas are best avoided if you would like to keep your mouth free of bacteria and tonsil stones.
Contrary to popular belief, dairy products such as milk, cheese and butter are not always healthy, they could well lead to an increased formation of tonsil stones. These foods are a rich source of calcium and can even accelerate the formation of mucus.
Alternatively, when one is particularly concerned about nutritional deficiencies and continues to consume dairy products, there is an abundance of protein present in the oral cavity. Anaerobic bacteria are known to feed on protein. This can lead to an increased incidence of tonsil stones formation.
Nevertheless, the condition is best reversed by ensuring regular rinsing of the mouth and using an effective mouthwash immediately after eating.
Foods that Heal
When eating cucumbers, you can ensure that the salivary glands produce more of saliva. The saliva has the inherent ability to destroy anaerobic bacteria, which helps tonsil stones not to form.
Taking probiotics is another great way to prevent tonsil stones. They can enhance the immunity by producing ‘good’ bacteria in abundance.
Concurrently, probiotics also destroy sulphur producing anaerobic bacteria, which minimizes the probability of forming tonsil stones.
Sleep and Tonsil Stones
Scientific studies have proved that sleeping immediately after dinner is best avoided as this can lead to accumulation of food in the tonsils. Thus, it is recommended that the gap between a meal and sleep should be at least 30 minutes.
Arguably, the most permanent of cures, surgical removal of tonsils is seldom advised. The logic for this surgical removal is that if one were to remove the tonsils, this would help prevent the formation of tonsil stones.
On the flip side, this is one modality of preventive treatment which is rarely advised, because tonsils in adults have lost the ability to protect against invading organisms and debris; their removal is seldom easy.
To further reiterate the case in point, tonsil removal in adults can be dangerous and can lead to complications such as uncontrollable bleeding.
Tonsil stones are unfortunately an integral component of present day living. Nevertheless, the good news is that this is a condition that one does not have to live with.
If you would try to take these above mentioned small steps, you could well be on your way to a stone free existence for years to come.
All that you would need to do is to first ensure that you maintain your oral hygiene, brush your teeth regularly and make the right choices when it comes to diet or even lifestyle.
Check out our other article on how to get rid of tonsil stones.