Commonly referred to as tonsilloliths, tonsil stones occur when food particles, dead cells, bacteria, mucus and minerals solidify and stick within the tonsil crevices at the back of the throat. The stones are normally pale yellow in color and cause severe bad breath (halitosis), difficulty in swallowing, sore throat and coughing. They are common in people who suffer from chronic tonsillitis of tonsil inflammation, and may keep recurring even after treatment or removal by surgery (Read How to Get Rid of Tonsil Stones at Home). It is thus vital to understand how to prevent tonsil stones in order to avoid or limit their occurrence. Some of the preventive measures that you need to put into consideration include:
Good oral hygiene:
Keeping your whole mouth clean lowers the chances of developing tonsil stones. You need to brush your teeth and tongue after each meal in order to remove remains of any debris that may have solidified in your teeth. Regular brushing also prevents growth of bacteria in the mouth, which is responsible for producing bad breath associated with tonsil stones. You can use a scraper to clean your tongue as far back as you can in order to eliminate anaerobic bacteria that lies under the surface of the tongue. You must also floss your teeth at least 2 times a day to ensure dead cells and food particles that would not be eliminated through brushing are gotten rid of. So, ensure good oral hygiene.
Gargle salt water or mouthwash:
Salt water dislodges the tonsil stones and ensures no unwanted materials accumulate at the tonsil area. It is made from mixing one tablespoon of salt in a cup of warm water and should be gargled at least 4 times a day, especially after meals. The water can be replaced by an alcohol-free mouthwash which also prevents halitosis, a condition that is associated with the tonsillitis.
Drink plenty of water:
Water keeps your mouth and throat moisturized thus preventing the stones from developing. It also flushes out trapped food particles from the mouth and throat, making it vital to increase your water intake, and make it regular.
Anaerobic bacteria which causes tonsils thrives on sugar and carbohydrates. Keeping away from carbonated drinks such as soda as well as sugary foods and beverages is essential, because these contribute greatly to the growth of bacteria that facilitates formation of tonsil stones. Dairy products including milk, cheese, and cream encourage the buildup of calcium and mucus which also facilitates growth of the stones and thus you need to limit their intake, and ensure you clean your mouth after eating any of these. Besides a good diet you should avoid eating shortly before bed since food particles that remain in the mouth while you sleep can accumulate in the tonsils resulting in an infection.
Limit the use of nasal drops:
Nasal drops sometimes drip into the rear of the throat and become thick, providing an environment for the tonsil causing bacteria to multiply. To solve this, always get nasal drops that have ingredients which can fight such bacteria and avoid those that contain saccharine and alcohol as these will make your mouth dry and result in tonsil stones.
Avoid alcohol and cigarettes:
Cigarettes and alcoholic beverages normally cause your mouth to be dry, resulting in bad breath. These should either be completely avoided or taken in limited quantities while ensuring that you stick to strict oral hygiene routines. Smoking stops fresh breath right at its track and thus increases the severity of tonsil stones, if they are already existent. Besides causing bad breath, it also increases the chances of developing complications in your oral cavity. Alcohol greatly interferes with the functioning of the salivary glands thus reducing the flow of saliva in the mouth. This dryness creates a great environment for calcification of food deposits, mucus and other forms of bacteria residing in the mouth.
Use grapefruit seed extracts
Grapefruit seed extracts provides one of the best ways how to prevent tonsil stones. The Grapefruit seed extracts contain anti-fungal and antibacterial components which increase the body’s ability to fight oral infections. The extract can be diluted in water and gargled at least 3 times daily for the benefits to be realized, and the stones to dislodge from the tonsil cavities. The extract also prevents them from recurring.