Coughing up Tonsil Stones, Possible Causes & Prevention

Can you cough up tonsil stones? How does it happen or what are the causes? Do tonsil stones cause coughing as well? Read to find out more in addition to prevent, stop and heal.

 Is Coughing Up Tonsil Stones Possible?

You have always heard of people complaining of ‘having tonsils’. Well, everybody has tonsils, which are actually the gland-like structures in the hind of your throat which can be palpable when inflamed. What these people refer to is tonsillitis which is a condition in which these structures are swollen and painful. Tonsils are located on either side of the throat and are charged with fighting off infections. They are known as the first immunity barricade any pathogen faces and this is physiologically triggered to restore health.

cough up tonsil stones
Man Coughing

Tonsil stones, also referred to as tonsilloliths, are yet another problem that many individuals are currently facing. They are white or yellow in color seated on either side of the tonsil pouches and to add, are hard to the touch. They are formed following the entrapping and subsequent deposition of food particles owing to poor oral hygiene to form pockets.

These pockets habor pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. The pathogens further metabolizes the sucrose that is in sugary foods and leads to bad odor. Various calcifications follow with plaque on the enamel and stone calcification on the tonsils. While tonsil stones are not easily recognizable, most stones are easy to see as they may accumulate and form larger stones to the tune of a grain size. Tonsilloliths are associated with an array of signs and symptoms including bad breathe (halitosis) and inflammation but has been known to trigger cough.

Tonsil stones can be caught up in a reflex motion of the throat aimed at expelling foreign bodies from the body. The reason why this is possible is due to the consequential deposition of tonsil stones in the back of the mouth. Note that this is behind the molar teeth.

Moreover, there are stones that are also deposited on the palate of the mouth. If you have ever noticed, any irritation to the back of your mouth can trigger a cough so as to expel the problem and the same occurs when an irritant is on the palate.

Here is a video of an individual coughing out tonsil stones

An in-depth mechanism to reasons why coughing up tonsil stones in possible is discussed in the next section.

I keep coughing up tonsil stones -what are the possible causes of coughing out tonsil stones

Now that you are convinced that tonsil stones can be coughed up, you need to understand what the actual cause of this event is. There are possible causes that have been postulated in reference to this.

  1. Reflex triggered by accumulation of debris: debris accumulates in the crevices and cracks in the tonsils. Much of these debris is food that you have eaten and not removed after a meal. When the food finally decays, it collects on the surface of the tonsils in a mixture with other inhabitants such as mucus. Mucus may not be much but its presence may be enhanced by some conditions such as post-nasal drip. When the debris accumulates on the tonsils extending into the throat, then it rubs against the epithelium of the throat and leads to a local irritation. This automatically triggers coughing to expel the irritant.
  2. Dislodgement of the tonsil stones from its seating position: the stone is not permanently attached to the tonsils. They will at some point break off. They could either fall down into the throat triggering a cough to expel the stones.
  3. Poor dental hygiene: failure to adequately take care of your oral hygiene could lead to an infection on the tonsils.
  4. Some studies have showed that taking high amounts of dairy products such as cheese or milk is a cause of tonsil stones. This is due to the high amount of proteins that results in xerostomia (dryness of the mouth). This leaves the oral cavity acidic and able to calcify and harden on the tonsils.
  5. Chronic sinusitis and tonsillitis: if you have had an infection for a long time without taking care of it, it could pre-expose to tonsilloliths. This goes to chronic tonsillitis and sinusitis. The latter is an infection of the sinuses.

Tonsil Stones Cause Coughing

In fact, Chronic or persistent coughing is one of the known symptoms of tonsilloliths. Within the throat, tonsil stones are perceived as foreign matter thus the coughing. However, this is helpful as it aids in removal of the unwanted matter your throat to ease air passage.

  1. Drinking adequate water: take enough water so that you can hydrate your throat. This may help in washing off bacteria in the oral cavity.
  2. Practice oral hygiene: brush your teeth more often and after meals. You could also purchase some mouthwash with chlorhexidine or Povidone iodine. Besides brushing, flossing your teeth could also help.
  3. Laser Tonsil Cryptolysis: a non-invasive treatment that removes the tonsil stones from the crevices. It used anesthesia during the process to ease off the pain.
  4. Coblation Cryptolysis: this procedure uses radio waves that charge a saline solution. This when taken, adhere to the tonsil and penetrate. The benefit of this procedure is that it reduces crevices and removes the tonsil stones.
  5. Antibiotics: you could take antibiotics such as the penicillins or macrolides to rid off the bacteria. This allows better effectiveness of the non-surgical methods.
  6. Quit Smoking: smoke settles on the teeth and lead to a plaque buildup. This has been known to harbor bacteria and other pathogens leading to a more severe infection. This tremendously increases the incidence of tonsilloliths.
  7. Tonsillectomy: the reason it comes last is due to its unpopularity as an option. You will only get a tonsillectomy when there is no other option or when other treatment procedures fail.

One Comment

  1. Never coughed up a stone till about two years ago. First time i freaked. After about about a year i had a bad cough for weeks, eventually hacked up a bloody mas and the stones dissapeared. So those things are like lime scale only associated with bacteria

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