Navigating Your Way Around Tonsil Stones

Tonsilloliths, commonly known as tonsil stones, are when accumulated debris of bacteria, cells or food particles are calcified on your palatine tonsils. Microorganisms, food and mucus can get trapped together in the nooks and crannies of your tonsils. If this becomes concentrated, it causes tonsil stones. Some people who suffer from tonsil stones report swelling of their palatine tonsils and a sore throat. Others notice nothing more than bad breath, possibly severe halitosis. In severe cases, tonsil stones become massive, causing the blockage of your airways.

Looking at pictures of patients with tonsil stones can be alarming. The treat and appropriate treatment required for tonsilloliths vary depending on their severity and size. When left untreated, these clumps become catalysts for tooth decay, gum problems, and other types of oral infections.

Who’s at risk?

People with terrible oral hygiene are the most vulnerable. Tonsil stones are more likely to appear when you neglect proper brushing habits. Individuals less likely to visit their dentists for cleaning and consultation are equally susceptible. 

Someone who is a heavy smoker will also have a high risk of getting this condition. When you smoke, you produce less saliva, and blood flow in your gums are hampered. To put it simply, your mouth is more prone to tonsil stones-causing bacteria when exposed to nicotine and other harmful substances found inside the cigarette.

Those prone to tonsillitis or have chronic inflammation of the tonsils as well as those with sinus issues are likely to get tonsilloliths as well.

Bad breath and difficulty in swallowing

Early signs of tonsil stones can be easily dismissed. When the stones start to appear, they produce a foul-smelling odor caused by sulfides. These formations become the headquarters of anaerobic bacteria. Since the tonsils are the first checkpoints, these microorganisms find the most hospitable environment where they can flourish. 

Aside from the most apparent bad-smelling breath, people afflicted with tonsil stones feel as though something’s lodged inside their throat. Some stones even remain deeply burrowed inside the crevices of your tonsils. When they get big enough, they interfere with your swallowing. You’ll feel a distinct discomfort whenever you try to gulp or swallow.

Other tell-tale symptoms

The first two mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg. You can also check out these following indications of tonsilloliths. Take note that these signs are not always present. Depending on how your tonsils are affected, you’ll experience some or a combination of the following symptoms:

  • White, gray or yellowish nodes
  • Rough-looking tonsils
  • Pain or pressure in the ears
  • Recurring or chronic tonsillitis
  • Sore throat

Evaluate your oral and dental hygiene

Whether you’re in the early or late stages of tonsil stones, incorporating proper brushing, flossing and mouthwash habits will go a long way. Remember, your mucous-coated tonsils are prone catching particles. These particles formed from a combination of food particles, dead cells, and bacteria can often be managed with good oral hygiene.

Flossing twice a day gets rid of bits and pieces of food and plaque while rinsing your mouth with a dentist-recommended mouthwash prevents plaque build-up. Also, bacteria and foreign pathogens are less likely to survive. Gargling can help rinse the buildup away.

Moving forward

Treatment for tonsillectomy ranges from coughing them up, gently loosening the stones from your tonsils using Q-tips to surgery. More often than not, adverse complications and problems arising from tonsil stones are relatively rare. They’re usually benign, and many have tried venturing natural and home remedies. The tricky part is when the tonsil stones become too big for you to handle. When you develop tonsil stones more frequently, ENT specialists might advise complete removal of your tonsils.

However, maintaining stellar dental hygiene is an efficient way to prevent tonsilloliths. Why suffer the costly inconvenience of tonsil stones if all your problems can be solved if you just stick with your good oral care habits?

Have more questions? Contact us at or call 587 805 3094 



You’re brushing your teeth and they start to bleed. You floss and they ache. Red, swollen and squishy. These are signs you could have gingivitis.

What is Gingivitis?

When it first starts, you may not even notice it. The gums become red and painfully swollen. Eventually, it causes bleeding when you floss or even brush your teeth. It can also cause sleepless nights with an aching mouth. Gingivitis is an inflammation of tissues around the teeth (also known as your gums or gingiva).

What causes gingivitis then?

Bacteria build up around your gum line, causing a sticky plaque to form on your teeth. When not removed, it hardens into tartar which in turn irritates the gums, causing them to inflame. This is why adequate brushing and flossing is required!

Regular smokers get gingivitis more often than non-smokers. Smokingintroduces harmful substances from cigarettes (or chewing tobacco), such as nicotine and tar. These can cause gum problems, halitosis, oral thrush, cancers, dental caries or tooth decay, teeth stains and etc. Nicotine also interferes how our body responds to bacteria as it impairs theleukocyte functions.

Medications may also lead to gingivitis. Drugs like anticonvulsants, calcium channel blockers, and immunosuppressants can cause gingival overgrowth. Make sure that the next time you visit your dentist, you mention ALL medications and supplements you are (or were) taking.

Pregnancy is another possible cause. As stated by, ovarian hormones such as estrogen and progesterone rise at this stage causing pregnant women to be more likely to experience gingivitis. It is said that gingivitis generally occurs to 60-75% of pregnant women, but if they practice good oral hygiene in the beginning of pregnancy, the rate will only be 0.3%.

Hormone changes during puberty, menopause and the menstrual cycle can also cause sensitivity in the gingiva.

Nutritional Deficiency is also included in the list of possible causes. Lack of good nutrition can affect one’s health causing various health problems including gingivitis. Vitamin C deficiency (in extreme cases it can progress to scurvy!!) is linked to gum disease.

Diabetics, because they have high levels of blood glucose, it can take significantly longer for gingivitis to heal. If you’re diabetic and you accidentally brushed your teeth hard, you could cause your gums to become inflamed or swollen. This is because decreased blood circulation makes it hard for the body to repair wounds. If you are diabetic and suspect gingivitis, you should seek medical assistance right away.

How to know if you have gingivitis?

These are the symptoms of gingivitis that will help you know if you have one:

  • Halitosis or Bad Breath
  • Swollen and Red Gums
  • Frequent Gum Bleeding
  • General feeling of being unwell
  • Pain
  • Bleeding when Brushing Teeth
  • Receding Gums
  • Fever (Early Stage)

How to treat gingivitis?

  • An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Always make to brush your teeth at least twice a day, in the morning and at night. Be smart in choosing toothbrush as their textures could differ.
  • Using a soft bristled toothbrush is highly recommended. Use gentle circles so as to not irritate the swollen gums and cause bleeding.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 months.
  • Flossing is also a good way to deep clean your teeth and gum line.
  • If you smoke, stop. This is a very important advice for all smokers, your oral health is not just in danger, you are prone to lung cancer and other health risks.

One of the easiest things to help ensure good health is to practice good oral hygiene

Visit your dentist every 6 – 9 months. If you are at risk of gingivitis, it may be recommended that you come more often.

If you have any of the symptoms listed above or feel like something is wrong, come in and see us. A check up and cleaning may be all it takes but we’ll be able to put you on the path to proper oral care.

Call us at 587 805 3094  or click here to contact us to book an appointment or download our report WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GUM DISEASE to answer any other questions.