You know when you cough and a solid little bit comes out? Or when you’re brushing your teeth and a mushy little ball shows up? What are these things and why are they there?
Throat nuts or tonsil stones, as they are commonly called, are known medically as tonsilloliths. They are calcifications that form in the crevices or crypts (pockets) of the tonsils. Composed mostly of calcium, they may also contain phosphorus, magnesium, ammonia, sulphur, and/or carbonate. Tonsils are filled with crevices where bacteria and other materials (like dead cells, food particles, fungi, and mucus) can become trapped. (source)
Tonsil stones can contribute to very bad breath. In a study among those with bad breath, 75% of the subjects had tonsilloliths while only 6% of subjects with normal breath had tonsilloliths. (source)
You probably have tonsil stones if you have the following symptoms:
• chronic bad breath
• a cough that doesn’t seem to have a cause
• sore throat and/or ear pain
• a sensation that something is stuck at the back of your throat
• the development of yellow or white small balls on the tonsils
Do you have tonsil stones right now?
Go to a mirror with a flashlight. Open your mouth wide, stick your tongue out far, shine the flashlight into your mouth, and say ahhhhhh. Look to the left and right sides near the visual base of your tongue. You may or may not see white formations peeking out. If you do, chances are you have tonsil stones.
There are plenty of resources on the internet to tell you how to flush the tonsil crypts or otherwise encourage the stones to dislodge. Do that and then learn below how to prevent tonsil stones from forming.
The formation of tonsil stones happens when a chronic mixture of sinus drainage, enlarged tonsil crypts caused by inflammation, debris, and bacteria combine together. Those with weakened immune systems who get sick often may have exacerbated rates of tonsil stone formations especially if stuffy noses and sore throats are involved.
Below are 10 tips for preventing throat stones from forming:
1. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables: This is something you should be doing anyway, but is especially helpful in getting rid of tonsil stones.
2. Stop smoking: Inhaling smoke will only exacerbate the problem and will make it harder for the stones to loosen because of the chemicals and bacteria that the smoke contains.
3. Limit your alcohol intake: Alcohol will only make your tonsil stones worse and make it harder to remove naturally.
4. Reduce the amount of dairy products you eat: Too much calcium will cause the build-up of stones. Severely limit or cut out all dairy products.
5. Eat more celery and cucumber: These foods will help loosen the stones and clear out some of the bacteria that have built up.
6. Wasabi: This Japanese herb is believed to help get rid of tonsil stones, as well as prevent them from re-occurring.
7. Drink more water: This will help loosen the tonsil stones and flush out any bacteria as well.
8. Limit your intake of caffeine and sugar: Limiting these substances will help prevent future tonsil stones from occurring. (source)
9. Improve dental hygiene with regular brushing, flossing, tongue scraping, and gargling.
10. Decrease or eliminate consumption of refined grains which stimulate oral bacteria.
Years ago I regularly coughed up tonsil stones when I would brush my teeth and trigger my gag reflex. Inevitably a little stone would be produced. It never alarmed me, only perplexed me, however it has been remarkable how this now never happens since I’ve adopted a highly raw, low fat, plant-based diet. Eating a clean diet of alkalizing foods & drinks, not smoking, and practicing good oral hygiene are keys to fantastic overall health, including the elimination of tonsil stone production.
Additional ResourcesCarla Golden is a vegan nutritionist and a massage therapist in private practice specializing in therapeutic essential oils. With a Bachelor of Science degree in Holistic Health & Healing, she enjoys helping others discover the benefits and liberation inherent in a whole food, plant-based diet. The Vegan Key™ is her newest online nutrition program based on tried and true methods which foster performance, vitality, and purpose.