Tonsils are structures like glands at the rear side of the throat. They are tissues which are made up of lymphocytes. Usually, tonsils are occupied with crannies and nooks where materials and bacteria along with mucous and dead cells are shut in. A Tonsilloliths or Tonsil Stones happens when the locked in debris calcifies or hardens. Tonsil stones usually happen for individuals who have chronic inflammation of tonsils or usual bouts of tonsillitis.
Formation of Tonsil Stones:
The amassing of debris and sulfur-producing bacteria in the tonsils leads to a formation of tonsil stones. The debris takes into account mucus from post nasal drip and food bits. All these matters decay at the back of the throat and are gathered in minute crevices called crypts on the tonsil surface. Additional debris is attracted to this area and after gathering it calcifies which develops large yellow and white formations. At times a single large stone would be formed whereas in other cases many small stones may appear.
Statistics and Facts about Tonsil Stones:
- In 2014, a Japanese study mentioned that an enhanced number of tonsil stones were revealed than studies made before. When 482 patients were assessed, about 222 (i.e. 46.1%) based on CT scans had tonsil stones and about 37 (i.e. 7.7%) based on radiographs possess tonsil stones.
- The National Center for Biotechnology Information mentioned that about 75% of patients were found to possess higher sulfur in their mouth which led to tonsil stone development.
- Till date doctors have removed tonsil stones which ranged from .10 ounce to about 1.5 ounces.
- People of age limit 20 to 40 are said to have chances to be affected with tonsil stones. Also, 6 to 10% of US people have affected annually with tonsils.
Risk Factors for Tonsil Stones:
There are few risk factors which enhance the risk of tonsil stones
- Dry mouth associated with medication
- Salivary glands which are overactive
- Postnasal drip
- Bacterial as well as sinus infection
- Repeated purulent and chronic tonsillitis
- Food enzymes reaction which is present in the mouth.
- Dead leukocytes gathering
- Lifestyle and dietary factors such as stress, more refined food, and use of alcohol
- Few genetic facts such as depth, size, and shape of tonsil pocket.
Does a Tonsil Stone Lead to Cancer?
According to the various studies conducted, tonsil stones are common and not considered as a pathological condition. There are fewer reports about the discussion of tonsil stones as cancer. Tonsil stones possess the same appearance as in malignant growth but are unfounded. They do not actually fall under cancer category. Throat cancers are usually due to enhanced alcohol usage along with human papillomavirus, tobacco usage, diet deficiency of vegetables and fruits. Any category of cancer tumor that is formed in the voice box, tonsils or throat is varied from tonsil stones. A tonsil stone to be a cancer is a misconception.
It is always best to prevent the formation of tonsil stones by following proper dental hygiene, balanced diet and drinking lots of water. Tonsil stones in a case formed can also be removed with many methods.