Saint Charles Dentist Can Check for Tonsil Stones
Almost everyone experiences it at least once, if not more often. The small, white chunks of material that seem to get hung up in the back of the throat can be disgusting and annoying. Known as tonsilloliths, or tonsil stones, they are actually hardened bits of bacteria, mucus, old food, and dead cells that have collected in the crevices of the throat and tonsils. As this material accumulates in the throat, it may even be visible during your Saint Charles dental checkup.
In actuality, a tonsil stone isn’t a true “stone”. It is firmly compacted, however, and as it grows in size, it can become quite painful. When lodged in the back of the throat, it may also trigger the gag reflex until it is dislodged. The average tonsil stone measures approximately 1 millimeter, although larger particles can become as large as a pea.
What transforms these small annoyances into major problems? The side-effects are sometimes difficult to ignore. Many patients suffer from bad breath and a bad taste in the mouth when the tonsil stones are impacted in the soft tissues of the throat. Patients who have large or more pronounced tonsils are more likely to encounter this problem.
These chucks of bio-matter can also accumulate amongst the tonsils to form white plaque, trouble swallowing, a sore throat, and even an earache. Also, a large percentage of patients will experience tonsil stones repeatedly. Some patients can report the appearance of multiple stones at the same time.
Generally, your tonsilloliths will not require any professional treatment. However, you may find that gargling with mouthwash or irrigating the throat with a waterpick can help to clear out the debris.
If you find that you are frequently challenged by bad breath, an irritated throat, or a bad taste in your mouth, and are unable to pinpoint any other forms of dental disease, it might be time to ask your Saint Charles dentist about the possibility of tonsil stones.