Why do you get tonsil stones?

A questions that is asked from people is “Why do I get tonsil stones?” Where do these ‘stones’ come from and what are they made of? Why do we have tonsils? And how do we get rid of stones? All this and more we’ll look into. Let’s go!


As you probably know, your tonsils are in the back of your throat. It is believed that they are part of the immune system. Now the immune system is the system that keeps you healthy, and tonsils are no exception.

Tonsils help protect you by trying to stop any bad germs from entering your body by way of your mouth or nasal passage (nose). With tonsils playing a big part in your body, you would wonder how they could cause harm to you as well.

Tonsils are made with divots and pocket-like things around them, called tonsil crypts. Because of this, stuff can get stuck in them, and stay there for a while. And because of that, tonsil stones can start to form.

Why Do I get Tonsil Stones?

So you’ve got your tonsils, and you’ve got stuff stuck in them. Most often the case, the stuff stuck in those tonsil pockets are usually bits of food, dead cells and mucus.
The ‘bad’ bacteria loves to feast on this type of stuff. So when the bacteria find these pockets full of delicacies, they eat as much as they can. And when bacteria eat, they leave a lot of waste behind. As this waste hardens and solidifies, it becomes what is known as a tonsil stone.

If you can see something white/yellowish on your tonsil, it’s a good indicator that it’s a tonsil stone. Or if you have coughed up a white hard pebble, that also means you probably have tonsil stones.

The Harm of Tonsil Stones

The main thing we’re going to talk about with tonsil stones is the association with bad breath. But in reality, tonsil stones can give you many other problems too.

With most stones being relatively small, they do very little or no harm at all. But if you have some that have built up and become quite large, several things can happen.

  • Difficulty swallowing. If the stones have become large, it may be hard to get food passed them.
  • Sore throat. Many times large stones can irritate the throat, and have it become sore.
  • Enlarged/inflamed tonsils. Sometimes the stones will make the tonsil enlarge and become inflamed due to the tonsil trying to fight the stones and other stuff at the same time.
  • Other symptoms can include excessive coughing, ear pain, and mild discomfort on your tonsils.

How To Remove Stones

Many people want to remove the stones as quickly as possible. Maybe it’s because when they look in a mirror, they can see something hanging off their tonsils, or because they can feel it in the back of their throat and it’s annoying.

Whatever the case, removing tonsil stones can be a bit of a challenge. One reason is that you have to remove something from the back of your throat, and often it can make you want to gag.

Another reason is that while you may be able to get what is noticeable off, you don’t often get what is stuck in the pocket, which means it will just build up again, and you’ll just have to repeat the cycle over and over again.

The process (if it works) of getting a stone out is relatively simple. Get a moistened cotton swab or q-tip, reach back in your mouth, and gentle push and prod the stone loose. Oftentimes it easier to do it in front of a mirror with a flashlight shining down your throat so you can see.

Some can pick out the stones with their tongues, but with us who have short tongues, this is often not the case. Another method is using your toothbrush to get them out, but with that you need to be careful.

If you do try to use a toothbrush, make sure to use the back part of it, and not the bristle part of it. If you’re not careful (or even if you are), while using the bristle part, you may end up damaging your tonsils, and then you have a whole host of other issues (blood, infection, soreness, etc.).

Gargling Can Help Too

Gargling different kinds of liquid can help get rid and remove tonsil stones. Most people try gargling salt water. While it may dislodge stones, it can also help alleviate a sore throat too, if you have that. Mix about 1/2 a teaspoon of salt with about 8 ounces of water, stir until it’s dissolved and gargle away.

Others have tried baking soda water. I’ve tried apple cider vinegar. I’ve even read of people trying lemon water. You just need to make sure you don’t make your mouth’s pH too acidic, especially if your using vinegar or lemons.

If None Of The Above Worked…

Sometimes home remedies don’t work, and you’re stuck with either trying a product, or having bad breath for a while longer, hoping that it will go a way by itself.

I would recommend Therabreath’s Tonsil Stone Removal Kit. I’m not going to lie, it is on the expensive side. Just shy of $40 can make anyone shudder. But if it doesn’t work, then send it back and get a refund.

With this kit comes a load of goodies:

  • A sprayer, with which you can squirt water directly at your tonsil stones to help dislodge and dissolve them.
  • Nasal drops. Many times stones can form from your mucus. Using these drops can help break up the mucus and clear your sinus passages.
  • Mouthwash. Open, swish and rinse, and you should have good breath.
  • Several other things, like things to suck on, and serums.

Note, sometimes things work for one person and not for another. So while this product may have worked for quite a few people, it may not work for you. Now that doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you.

I would suggest trying it. With a 30-day money back guarantee, you have nothing to lose if this product doesn’t work for you. You’ll actually be learning something (like maybe TheraBreath doesn’t work for you) if you do try it out. Give it a try and the results may just be in your favor.

11 thoughts on “Why do you get tonsil stones?”

  1. Nice instructive article. I didn’t even know that we can have tonsils stones. Seem to be discomforting a lot. So now, I will know what to do if it happens to me or someone I know.
    Thank you for sharing those informations!

    • Hey Carole,

      Thanks so much for commenting. Yeah, it’s amazing what our bodies do and can have without ourselves ever knowing. I’m glad I was able to give you more info on how to handle tonsil stones in case of future need.


  2. I have never heard that tonsils may help my immune system.

    Tonsil stones? I am 52 years old. I haven’t heard of this either. I have wondered why some people have worse breath than others. I appreciate your section on how to remove tonsil stones. I have always used my finger to push on them as I have discovered a few of them and was wondering if I was dying.

    It’s fascinating that there is even a Tonsil Stone Removal Kit. I am amazed at what I learn on the internet after so many years.

    • Ha-ha, nope you aren’t dying. It is amazing what you can learn online. Like I didn’t know that it was actually possible for someone to remove tonsil stones with their fingers. And now, because of you, I do know that it is possible. Thanks for the comment.


  3. Wow! I have never heard of tonsil stones before. I guess you learn something new everyday. Iā€™m glad I read up on this so that if it ever happens to me or someone. I know I can educate them and or purchase the kit. I have just one question, how do people get tonsil stones?

    • Hey Courtney,

      Good question. Bad bacteria will get into the crypts of your tonsil. Food particles or mucus can also get stuck in there and the bad bacteria will feast off of those things. As the bacteria feast, they produce waste. The waste builds up until it becomes round, pebble-like waste. Those are called tonsil stones. So that is essentially how you get tonsil stones.


  4. First of all the name of your website made me chuckle and I definitely had to take a peek!

    Very interesting article. I didn’t know people got tonsil stones. The more I read, the more gross they sounded and glad I’m not a suffer.

    I would say The Tonsil Stone Kit is worth every penny as a last resort and the problem doesn’t sound as if it is temporary or life-threatening.

    • Hey Henry,

      Thanks so much for taking a look at my site. Yeah, the name of the site is definitely an interesting name. I wasn’t sure if it was any good when I first started out, but it really grew on me and so I decided to keep it as that. You can find out more about the name in this article if you’re interested.

    • Good Question Joan,

      Typically, if you have bad breath, you can talk with your dentist and they can suggest why they think you have bad breath. But I wouldn’t say that the dentists will check for tonsil stones. Tonsil stones sometimes aren’t visible, because they are stuck deep down in the crevices of your tonsils, so your dentist might now be able to see the stones, even if you have them.



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