Have you ever opened your mouth to inspect your tonsils only to notice small, hard white lumps at the back of your throat? What are those? They might look like a piece of popcorn that got lodged in the back of your throat, but more than likely they are tonsil stones. In some cases, these tonsil stones could cause problems with your mouth, including a foul odor on your breath.
What Are Tonsil Stones?
Tonsil stones are defined as calcified structures that can develop inside the grooves of your tonsils. They are formed when food particles, debris, and bacteria collect in these groves and harden to create a calcified mass. They are actually quite common, but since most are too small to notice, you probably don’t even realize that you have them. However, if they grow larger you may be able to see them, and they can also cause a variety of upsetting symptoms: sore throats, tonsillitis, earaches, and even bad breath.
What is the Connection Between Tonsil Stones and Bad Breath?
There are a variety of causes of bad breath, but if you have attempted to identify the source of yours and aren’t coming up with anything, tonsil stones might be the culprit. Tonsil stones have been estimated to affect 16-24% of people with chronic bad breath, with one study saying that they occurred in nearly 40% of patients.
Studies have further examined if tonsil stones were connected to bad breath, including a Brazilian study completed at the State University of Campinas. This study indicated that tonsil stones were found in 75% of patients with tonsillitis who had bad breath, but they were only found in 6% of patients who had normal breath.
While tonsil stones might cause bad breath, they aren’t dangerous for your health, and they tend to be a minor cause. If you are suffering from chronic bad breath, you will want to explore other issues that might be contributing to your halitosis and make sure you keep up with your regular dental exams.
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