Is it possible to remove invisible deep tonsil stones at home? Read on to find ways you deal with hidden tonsilloliths at home without gagging at home.
How to Remove Tonsil Stones you can’t see at Home
Tonsil stones normally appear as white lumps on swollen tonsils. They are hard to depict and this may require really specialized or careful scrutiny. In fact, this is the reason as to why cases of halitosis go unnoticed when they are due to tonsil stones.
Taking a close look at the anatomy of the tonsils, there are tonsillar crypts to the inside of the lumen of the pharynx. These crypts lead to the lymphatic nodules with germinal centers. The reason your tonsils swell is due to the infiltration of the crypts with lymphocytes that lead to inflammation.
The crypts may harbor food particles or pathogens that get entrapped as they swell. Digestive enzymes act on the food and in addition to bacterial degradation, leads to formation of plaque and eventually calculi.
There are methods that you can use to remove tonsil stones that you cannot see. This material discusses some of them as follows:
With a cotton swab, you can apply some pressure on the tonsils. Target the white spots that look like balls and maneuver until you can dislodge the stone. Do this at different angles to increase the chances of dislodging it. Make sure that you exercise some gentleness as you may trigger a gag reflex when the tonsils get irritated. They may even bleed if you do it forcefully.
Gargling with diluted hydrogen peroxide
Mix one tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 120 mL of clean water. Then gargle for about 1 minute and repeat this once daily. The hydrogen peroxide should be able to provide the anti-microbial properties and help in the loosening and reduction of the tonsil stones.
Gargling with saline solution
To do this, add a teaspoon of table salt in 120 mL of warm water or one that is a bit hotter and then mix thoroughly. Perform the head tilt to allow the mixture to settle on the back of the tongue close to the tonsils and gargle then spit. Do this for about 2 minutes and repeat 3 – 4 times in a day.
Vinegar gargle solution
This is a liquid with 5 – 20% acetic acid, water and other trace ingredients. Acetic acid will be particularly important in chemically reducing the size of tonsil stones that are acidic in pH. This may include those formed as a result of consumption of dairy products.
These products contain calcium which may harden as calcium carbonate and an acid would be beneficial in this case to dissolve the stones.
To make this gargle mixture, add a tablespoon of vinegar to 120 mL of warm water. Perform the head tilt method then gargle for a minute.
Most tonsil stones are calcium deposits. Calcium forms basic salts. The best way to remove such salts is by the use of an acidic gargle solution. Lemon contains ascorbic acid and would therefore react and solubilize the calcium deposits. Aside from this, it also has mild antiseptic properties that help in the control of the flora in the mouth. Add about 10 drops of lime or lemon in warm water. Drink the mixture while swallowing hard. Do this for a few days.
How to Remove Tonsil stones without gagging
Gagging is also known as a pharyngeal or gag reflex in which there is a laryngeal spasm, more of a contraction of the laryngeal muscle of the back of the neck.
It is normally evoked by touching the palate of the mouth and the hind of the tongue muscle adjacent to the where the tonsils are and the uvula, the hanging extension of the palate at the back of the throat that continuously dangles and remains a wonder in most people.
Therefore, there are four areas that may trigger a gag reflex including the uvula, the roof of the mouth, the back of the tongue and your tonsils. The physiological role of gagging is to prevent choking when your throat is blocked by forcefully expelling the foreign object.
According to Medical Neurosciences, this is an aerodigestive reflex more specifically the reflexive pharyngeal swallowing that prevents choking.
There are medical conditions that lead to gagging such as bulimia nervosa in which a person intentionally induces vomiting. This is also done in some cases of poisoning.
There are however surprising cases of people who are able to suppress gagging such as those who swallow swords as studied by Wilson, Tracy V., 2007 and cases in which one lacks the reflex totally. One study by Davies, A. E.; Kidd, D.; Stone, S. P.; MacMahon, J. (February 1995), showed that one in three people lack a gag reflex.
This has been explained by experts as an anomaly resulting from late introduction of solid foods into the diets of children contrary to the recommended 5 to 6 months.
Therefore, if you have a gag reflex, then you could use this technique to dislodge a tonsil stone or calculi from the crypts in which it is entrapped. This section however relays on how to do it without gagging yourself. Here are some of the methods:
Gargling with hydrogen peroxide
question arises on whether this would work. Hydrogen peroxide offers germicidal properties to cleansing the tonsils hence eliminating the pathogens that lead to tonsil stones. It may also help in reacting with the acidic debris that has formed a calculi such as stones resulting from accumulation of digested food.
This should be the work of your saliva which is alkaline but in this case, you may need to step up its action. Choose to use the hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash that you spit out after use or with a dropper. The latte may however induce a gag reflex. However, do not swallow the hydrogen peroxide!
Listerine and Biotene
Listerine is a renowned mouthwash that contains essential oils such as menthol (mint) 0.042%, thymol (thyme) 0.064%, eucalyptol (eucalyptus) 0.092% and methyl salicylate (wintergreen) 0.064% (www.listerine.com).
These essential oils have an anti-inflammatory effect and would thus come in handy in reducing the swollen tonsils. Since they are volatile oils, the cooling effect they leave on the surface of the tonsils reduces and eases the pain, Trease & Evans Pharmacognosy (Saunders, 2008).
The additional antibacterial activity also helps eliminate bacteria. With such benefits, this mixture has been recommended by a famous otolaryngologist at the University of Cincinnati, Dr. Lee confirming its benefits to removal of tonsil stones if gargled.
Gargle with salt water
Carbonated drinks or water can help remove tonsil stones. Carbonated drinks that could be used include seltzer or club soda. They help in loosening the stones and making them easier to remove. To do this:
- Mix a teaspoon of salt with a cup of boiled water (120 mL).
- Use it while hotter than warm and tilt your head slightly at the back while taking it. This ensures that the water reaches the back of the throat. Gargle continuously the spit.
- Repeat this for 2 minutes and 3 – 4 times daily. You will notice some change.
You are able to remove or loosen the stones by swallowing hard. This forces muscles to bulge against the swollen tonsils raising the chances that you could actually dislodge a stone. It is however a much less reliable method. To do it:
- Raise the tongue to touch the palate
- Tighten your throat then swallow hard several times
- As you do this, stick your tongue to the sides and reach out to the tonsils.
- Hopefully, your tonsils stones may get out though with a risk of swallowing them or lodging them further.
Waterpik for Tonsil stone Removal
Waterpik is a system used by dentists and this you might have seen when you go for procedures such as tooth removal or scaling.
The system has a pik that supplies a pressured stream of water to flush out pathogens. It has been indicated for use in tonsil stones and is considered an effective method.
It may not be as comfortable as you might expect it. You may however, feel some pain when the stone in the tonsils is large.
This method however triggers a gag reflex and may not be the best method to use especially if you have a sensitive gag reflex.
Nevertheless, it provides a cost-efficient and sure way to remove tonsil stones.
To use a Waterpik, follow these procedure:
- Fill the machine with water. You may choose to use warm salt water.
- Adjust the water pressure level that is appropriate.
- Massage the area with the pik to loosen the stones then suck
- Flush with the high pressured water
How to remove deep tonsil stones stuck in throat
Good thing about treating tonsil stones, is that they almost never require surgery. If necessary, then one could be indicated in which the stones are removed or the tonsil itself is removed.
This is especially when there are large calculi lodged near the ear, nose and the throat leading to other ENT complications. Here are some methods that are used to remove tonsil stones but not at home:
A retrospective case series by Chang CY, Thrasher R. (2012), demonstrated the effectiveness of this technique. Its uniqueness is based on its performance without sedation with local anesthesia much like laser tonsil Cryptolysis.
It avoids the disadvantages with laser use such as airway fire, oral/facial burns, retinal damage and the higher cost of procuring it. There was a significant decrease and eventually elimination of tonsil stones.
Laser tonsil Cryptolysis
This is also a non-invasive treatment. It however uses sedation by anesthesia. It is able to remove the tonsil stones from the tonsillar crypts.
this is basically the surgical removal of the tonsils together with its stones. This is usually indicated when all other methods have failed and the tonsils are completely compromised.
 Davies, A. E.; Kidd, D.; Stone, S. P.; MacMahon, J. (February 1995). “Pharyngeal sensation and gag reflex in healthy subjects”. Lancet. 345 (8948): 487–488. PMID 7861875. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(95)90584-7