Tonsil Stones Removal

What Are Tonsil Stones?


Tonsil Stones Removal
Tonsil Stones & Removal

Tonsilloliths, often referred to as tonsil stones, are clusters of calcified material often collected in palatine tonsils.  Tonsilloliths are more common in cryptic tonsils, or tonsils with larger crevices. They are composed mostly of calcium, but may contain other minerals like phosphorus and magnesium, ammonia or carbonate. While generally not harmful, tonsil stones are often a nuisance. Many people with tonsil stones describe a feeling of having something stuck in their throat. These tonsilloliths, or tonsil stones, can cause chronic halitosis or bad breath. Before discussing how to get rid of tonsil stones, let’s examine their cause. Dr. Murray Grossan has invented an amazing little machine to assist in the removal of tonsil stones. He calls it the Hydro Pulse

The cause of Tonsilloliths is not known, but they are more common in adult than children. Removing tonsil stones is an obsession for many, and a lucrative business for others. A search of the term, “tonsil stones removal,” will probably lead readers to numerous vendors of products purporting to have the most effective tonsil stones removal and cure.

How to Get Rid of Tonsil Stones


Before spending money on tonsil stonesremoval, consider trying less expensive and less invasive methods of tonsil stone removal and prevention. It should be noted that no treatment at all may be needed. In cases where bad breath or discomfort become pronounced enough to affect quality of life, these treatments may be justified. There a several standard treatments currently available in the United States. A brief overview includes irrigation, curettage, laser, and tonsillectomy surgery.

Tonsil Stones Removal and Treatment


How to get rid of tonsil stones:
A simple method removing tonsil stones is to use an oral irrigator. Most electric irrigators are not recommended for tonsil stone removal. They are generally too powerful and are likely to cause damage the tonsils. This, in turn, can result in infection. Gargling with warm, salty water can help alleviate tonsil stones. Vigorous gargling daily can keep the tonsil crypts clear of tonsil stones.

Larger tonsil stones may require removal by curettage. Large lesions may require local excision. It should be noted that these treatments may not allieviate the bad breath often associated with tonsil stones
To decrease the surface area of the tonsils with a laser is also a tonsil stones treatment option. This procedure is called laser cryptolysis. This technique “flattens,” the edges of the crevices which can collect the debris. This can prevent material from collecting and forming Tonsilloliths.
Tonsillectomy may be necessary if problems due to Tonsilloliths persist, despite less invasive measures.

Below are several pictures of typical Tonsilloliths. While each person is unique, these photos represent fairly common Tonsillolith presentation. For those considering tonsillectomy surgery, pictures of post tonsillectomy throat, and even tonsils can be found on the tonsillectomy pictures page.

Since tonsillitis is also a common affliction among tonsilliloth sufferers, pictures of throats affected by tonsillitis are also displayed on the tonsillitis page.

More information about tonsillectomy recovery


One Person’s Story, From a reader:

Tonsil stones were the obvious cause of  my bad breath, as I learned while undergoing treatment of chronic tonsillitis., my doctor told me that I had tonsil stones or Tonsilloliths I had no idea what that was. Were tonsil stones like kidney stones? Were they like gall stones? I learned that they were neither. The disgusting occupants of my enlarged tonsils, that made it hard to swallow and gave me horrible breath were tonsil stones.

Tonsil stones or tonsilloliths are concentrations of white excrescences that develop in the tonsil’s many recesses. The anatomic composition of some people’s tonsils; their size as well as the presence of large crypts, can make people more susceptible to tonsil stones.

The excrescences are made of bacteria, mucous and dead cells that have hardened. This happens most often with folks who, like me, have chronic tonsillitis, and cryptic tonsils. By cryptic I mean tonsils that have pockets or crevices in which particles can accumulate. These are normal but some people’s tonsils are more cryptic than others’. This leaves them more susceptible to tonsil stones.

Removing tonsil stones or tonsilloliths is tricky.  They don’t always present with obvious symptoms, but during my treatment of tonsillitis the doctor did see a white spot on one of my tonsils. I didn’t have the horrible bad breath many people with tonsil stones have. The stench is actually caused by an accumulation of sulfur compounds and most people who have stones or tonsilloliths have this high level of sulfur in their breath.

The tonsillitis that I suffered from brought sore throats, which is another symptom of tonsil stones, as is difficulty in swallowing. I always associated my difficulty in swallowing with the tonsillitis flare ups.

Tonsilloliths may also manifest symptoms in the form of referred pain in the ear. This means that the ear feels the pain of the tonsil stone, even though it’s nowhere near it. This is because the tonsils and the ears share the same nerve pathways. Another symptom of tonsil stones is swelling. The swollen tonsils can interfere with breathing.

Maybe I did have symptoms of tonsil stones? At any rate, my doctor decided that the tonsils, which had bedeviled me for years, had to go.  For me, tonsillectomy was the best treatment. Check with your ear nose and throat specialist before removing tonsil stones.


There is an amazing amount of information floating around the internet about tonsil stones removal and treatment.  If you dig into them, you’ll learn that most sites are trying to sell products to mask the symptoms of tonsil stones but profess to be treatments or cures.


Treatments for tonsil stones are actually rather limited. I’ve seen countless videos about removing them.  Some recommend downright dangerous methods.  Be careful about what you put down your throat.  That applies to the elixirs being hawked on the internet as well.  Read the ingredients carefully and don’t waste money on a product that is probably no better for your throat, maybe much worse, than a simple solution of warm saltwater.  Gargling with warm water and baking soda is an inexpensive, safe home remedy for all manner of throat irritations and bad breath.  Most internet marketers won’t tell you this.  How much money could they make selling a box of Arm and Hammer baking soda?

Short of tonsillectomy surgery, it’s doubtful that these over the counter treatments will be successful in long term treatment of tonsil stones.


If you have a success story about tonsil stones treatment or cure, please post it under comments and questions section below.  We want your your input!  Thanks, -Greg Tooke 


  1. Just brought my 19 year old son home from his tonsillectomy. Thank you for all your information on how to manage his recovery. I just can’t believe his tonsils got this bad without someone catching on. He has sleep apnea, bad breath, sore throats several times a year, ear pain, tmj and snores horrendously! I feel so badly that he has no idea what it is like to feel good! I am hoping this will improve his quality of life. It better…this is how he is spending his college spring break!

    1. How long did it take for your son to recover/ how did things end up for him? I am almost in the same exact boat. I am 19 and spending my fourth of july on bed rest- and to make matters worse I am taking summer classes in college so I don’t even have much of a break in the first place. I have TMJ, had these tonsil stones, constant strep throat, ear infections so often that half the time when I go to a doctor to get antibiotics for being sick he also informs me I have an ear infection, and then I have had tonsilitis for the first time ever this past year- and I am certain I can thank the cruddy freshman dorm for that. Plus I had it twice. Every time I was sick my roommate would go sleep somewhere else because she said I snored so bad. I have about two weeks before my surgery and as of right now, not too concerned but I am sure as the date gets closer I will be more nervous. Plus I go to college out of state, and my mom can’t come help me so it may just resort to my sorority sisters having to take care of me- thankfully all who are in the house with me are willing to pitch in but hopefully I can find a family member to the rescue to help out because I know that would be a lot to ask of a friend.

  2. I am so glad I found this site! I have tonsil stones pretty often, and some of the bacteria accumulates in pockets that are deep inside of my tonsils. I have to squeeze my tonsils in order to get everything out. The last “stone” that I removed was the size of a dehydrated pea.

    I am having a T&A next week, and I can’t wait! The information on this site has been very helpful in the prep process. Fortunately, my doctor has also been preparing me well and I already have the scripts and post-op care suggestions in my possession (to read while I am coherent). Many thanks for compiling everything into one place.

    1. Hi, is that the only reason you are having your tonsils removed, because of the stones? I have been considering it, but I didn’t know if my doctor would remove them just for that.

      1. Hi Greg — Thanks!

        Hi Sara — The stones were the deciding factor. I am on antibiotics several times per year for a throat infection, and at least once per year need steroids for kissing tonsils (my tonsils swell to the point that they meet in the middle and I have a hard time eating and breathing). The doc would never take out my tonsils, saying it was pretty risky for an adult. For almost 2 years I have had tonsil stones to go along with everything else. The stones have sparked more infections and throat problems over the past couple of years. I have 40 – 50 years or more left of living, and can’t do this for several more decades. So, I asked to have my tonsils removed. The doc was still hesitant and we tried 4 more months of “let’s try this” plans before agreeing they needed to come out. It may have been the “I’m now using a cuticle pusher to get some of the deep stones out” statement, and the pictures I started taking of the stones that came out of my throat (I used measuring tape), that helped them decide! I do not recommend using a cuticle pusher. I am a bit anxious about the first week or so post-op, but really know this will be worth it in the long run.

        1. Wow! I am so sorry you are having to go through all of that. I will be praying for you, and I wish you the best!

        2. Thank you for your kind words. It’s been a tough road, but after 20 years of tonsil problems I am looking forward to this. My doctor did mention that if the stones were only in one or two places, and I didn’t have the other problems I do, he’d have simply cut out the spot where the stones were forming. If you only have a spot or two where stones form, perhaps this alternative may be available to you.

        3. I too used a cuticle pusher a few months ago! Haha! The stone is back and big as before. My surgery is scheduled on my birthday in January. Bleh! Bit I am SO ready to be done with all of my throat issues! I’ll be 38, so this will be no picnic! But life without throat probs? Ah, Heaven…….

      2. Sara,

        I had mine removed for just tonsil stones. The doctor had no issue with it. I told him it was socially debilitating.

        1. Jim, was it successful in removing all symptoms of Tonsil stones, mainly bad breath?


        2. July hi, just want to know if you had your surgery for tonsil stones and did it help with the bad breath issues?

      3. I had an appointment with my ent specialist. She says she won’t do them cause my tonsils are small anyway. I cried and practically begged her to do it but to no avail. I don’t know what to do I’m desperate. I do believe her when she says they are small tonsils but tonsils stones just frown in the crypts and I have to squeeze my tonsils nearly on a daily basis to keep them clean. This is ruining my life. I don’t know what to do anymore!

        1. It’s always a good idea to get a second opinion. Also, check with your insurance provider to see if they have any ideas. Don’t give up…if you want this procedure, check many different sources and make your own informed choice.
          Your comments that you are ‘desperate’ and this is ‘ruining my life’ makes me wonder if you have anyone to talk with. Please consider talking with your parents, a trusted friend, a school/college counselor, possibly someone in human resources if you work for a large company, maybe your religious leader, if that is an option. The most important thing to remember is that there are answers out there…don’t give up trying to find them. I’m worried that you are thinking that this is the ‘end of your life’, but remember that there are many doctors out there and you CAN find one who understands your concerns and agrees with the procedure.
          Good luck and take care.

          Jamie S.

      4. Hi I’ve just had mine out 2 days ago due to stones. My tonsils never swelled but my breath always smelt & I had to retch & poke the stones out. I started getting sick & dizzy all the time & my doc thinks that they were infecting & blocking my tubes. On having them out the surgeon said considering they looked normal from what they could see he said inside they were so badly infected it was poisoning me!!!! So don’t think if u only have minor symptoms that it not worth getting them out. I’m really sore but so glad this will all be behind me. I’ll be able to look people in the eye instead of looking in the direction I want my potent breath to go 🙂

    2. Hi I’m from the uk and it’s just not understood much over here- no surgeon on the national health service would remove your tonsils due to stones. I went private – there is one surgeon that does a private laser tonsilectomy – I had it done twice and still I have stones due to my very deep crypts – or maybe it’s just a crap surgeon . I wish I was in the states . I went back to him as I had nowhere else to go and he decided that he would need to cut into the tissue to get into the burried crypts – therefore a traditional method of tonsilectomy over laser. I guess what I
      saying to all you guys – it’s better to do it the trad way and get it done once and properly as opposed to spending silly money on a couple of laser procedures that don’t work -if you are told you have deep crypts! I’ll let you all know if I’m tonsil stone free after surgery – take three! X

  3. Is is necessary to get your tonsils removed just because you have tonsil stones? They give me horrible breath, and it is causing intimate problems between my husband and I.

    1. Sara,
      I am having the same problem. They are the most disgusting thing and my husband says it makes my breathe smell like a dead body (GASP!). Who wants to be near that. It has made me so self-conscious. I was originally scheduled for surgery last winter, but we ended up moving (military). I finally went to my new ent doc last week and am currently waiting to schedule surgery to pop these things out. The way I figure, it is one less issue to worry about later down the road. I can’t imagine being 70 and having to squeeze those disgusting things out. I’m 29 and am so over dealing with them daily. Good luck!

  4. Wow, is that what you had too? I never had alot of stones (like the photo above). I found one about 20 years ago and from that day forward, I became an expert at removing them. That lead for me to start looking for them. Most of the time, there was no visible stone at all but I could feel it and taste it. Sure enough, when I started poking around, one would pop out. I have several other friends who have them too. I’ve heard them say, I haven’t seen a stone in years . . . yeah neither did I but they were still in there.

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