The NYT published a story on tonsil stones on Aug 31, 2009. Tonsil stones, otherwise known as tonsilloliths, are "stones" that are found and ejected from tonsils that consist of mucus, dead cells and other debris that collect in the deep pockets of the tonsils and gradually condense into small, light-colored globs. Bacteria feed on this accumulated matter, giving rise to the odor.
The only known cure for tonsilloliths is tonsillectomy, though more conservative measures are encouraged first prior to surgery. There is also a minimally invasive procedure our office performs called tonsil cryptolysis which is a procedure to try and eliminate this problem prior to considering tonsillectomy.
A recent research paper does offer tantalizing clues to address tonsilloliths more conservatively as it found that tonsil stones are more like living biofilms rather than an inert stone. Read the abstract here.
Read the story here.