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Treating tonsil stones safely and effectively

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  • Coughing is one of the easiest ways to treat or remove tonsil stones. If you find that coughing can help dislodge the stones, go ahead and do so, but in a careful manner
  • There are other home remedies you can try to help remove tonsil stones. Learn more about natural tonsil stones treatment

Most tonsil stones are harmless. In fact, if you have them you may not develop any symptoms at all.1 However, when symptoms do appear and become worrisome, there are various treatments that you can try.

Coughing may help dislodge the stones

Coughing is one of the easiest ways to treat or remove tonsil stones.2 If you find that coughing can help dislodge the stones, you can do so, but in a careful manner. Overdoing it can damage your throat.

Do a saltwater gargle

A saltwater solution is the next best remedy that you can use to get rid of tonsil stones. To create a solution, dissolve a quarter- or half-teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, then gargle vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds.3

Use a low-pressure irrigator

You can loosen tonsil stones with a low-pressure water irrigator. Medical News Today recommends a water flosser for this. Simply stand in front of a well-lit mirror and then aim the water flosser at the tonsil stones.

Be cautious, though, as this method might cause the stone to fall to the back of your throat and trigger coughing. Using a water flosser isn’t advisable for children, as it could put them at risk of choking.4

Consider laser tonsil cryptolysis and coblation cryptolysis

If your situation is serious and immediate treatment is required, you may opt for tonsil cryptolysis. This procedure essentially involves reshaping the surfaces of the tonsil, reducing the number of crypts so fewer tonsil stones can form. There are two types of cryptolysis you can undergo:

  • Laser — A surgeon uses a CO2 laser beam to vaporize and smooth out the tonsil crypts.5
  • Coblation — Radio frequencies and a conductive medium composed of saltwater are used to “excite the electrolytes” and dissolve tissue.6

Both of these procedures only require local anesthesia and not sedation.7 The main advantage of cryptolysis is that the tonsils do not have to be removed, and recovery is generally faster than tonsillectomy. Usually, patients can eat normally and return to work within a week.8 However, be aware that this procedure is not a permanent solution. Depending on the type of surgery you had, your tonsils may eventually regrow, which can lead to the formation of stones again.9

Other home remedies you can try

There are other home remedies you can try to help remove tonsil stones. Common options include:10

  • Cotton swab — You can use a clean cotton swab to gently nudge the stones out of your tonsils. But be careful, because forceful prodding may damage your tonsils further. If you’re not confident with this method, try other noninvasive home remedies first or consult a doctor.
  • Garlic This herb contains antimicrobial properties, particularly due to the compound allicin,11 that may help kill the bacteria in the stones, allowing them to be broken down.12
  • Apple cider vinegar Its acidic properties may help dissolve tonsil stones. Dilute it in lukewarm water before gargling.

Surgery should be a last resort

Your doctor may suggest tonsil removal or tonsillectomy, but this is now considered a last resort.13 However, if your situation is unusual or the tonsil stones particularly large or causing a health problem, your doctor may decide that a surgery would be a beneft. For example, in one reported instance, tonsillectomy was performed in a patient due to the unusually large size of his tonsil stone.14

MORE ABOUT TONSIL STONES

Tonsil Stones: Introduction

What Are Tonsil Stones?

Tonsil Stones Symptoms

Tonsil Stones Causes

Tonsil Stones Treatment

How to Get Rid of Tonsil Stones

Tonsil Stones Removal

Tonsil Stones Prevention

Tonsil Stones FAQ

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