Facts About Tonsiloliths (Tonsil Stones) and How to Remove Them

Practical Advice from Someone Who Suffers from This Terrible Affliction

If you have found this article because you have done a search for “tonsiloliths” , “tonsil stones” or “cryptic tonsils” then I need not explain to you what it is that these things are. For those of you who arrived here by accident, let me explain: Tonsiloliths are nasty little bits of debris that can be found in the crypts of our tonsils and that smell really, really bad.

I had always assumed that these things were little bits of food that had been caught in my teeth or throat until finally, I realized that these things were coming from my tonsils. I started picking them out back in 1996 and have been doing it ever since. There was nothing on the Internet about tonsil stones back then. Absolutely nothing.

Eventually I was able to find a post on a forum board that turned out to be an advertisement for Therabreath. I tried it and it worked very well for morning breath. But, Therabreath did not solve my tonsilolith problem. According to common sense, nothing short of removing my tonsils would work for solving the problem entirely. (I personally think this problem will get much worse in the future since children are no longer getting their tonsils removed.)

I booked an appointment to get my tonsils removed at age 31, but then chickened out. I decided to live it since I am against having a voluntary surgery. I have found two very successful ways to remove tonsiloliths. The WaterPik method is thorough, yet messy and can cause you to gag. The Pore extractor method is fast, clean and easy.

Method One: WaterPik. First of all you will need a medium sized magnifying mirror and a very strong light. I sit in the bathroom and use a light on a tripod–like a photographer’s light. You can get these at a photo store for $20 or so. I lower the height of the lamp and shine it directly into my mouth. I use the magnifying mirror to get a good look. The most successful (and exciting) way is to use a WaterPik dental irrigator. Using the light and the mirror, simply place the irrigator tip inside the tonsil crypt and turn the irrigator on the low setting. That is important. Please set it to low. If it’s set too high, the water pressure can cause superficial bleeding. I have gotten out a whole lot of debris using this method. I spray the water in my tonsils then spit all that water into a glass cup. You can see everything that came out. Sorry if that sounds gross!

Method Two: Using the same light set up, employ a stainless steel pore extractor to remove your tonsiloliths. I suggest that you boil this tool after each use and wash with soap to prevent infection. My favorite brand of pore extractor is Tweezerman and can be found on Amazon. A pore extractor is a small rod about 4 inches long with a loop on either end. These loops can be used to insert into tonsil crypts and stretch out the orifice, releasing the tonsil stone. They can also be used to apply gentle pressure to the tonsil, which can also force out the offending tonsilolith.

I hope my advice helps you manage your tonsil stones for those of you who have decided not to remove your tonsils. I also recommend you to read this article before you want to need remove your tonsil stones.