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April 07, 2012

Tonsil Bad Breath and Tonsil Stones

The Huffington Post published a story on tonsil stones on April 4, 2012 which can lead to bad breath. The author, who is a dentist, gave the perspective of conservative treatment strategies to resolve bad breath whose root cause is due to tonsil stones otherwise known as tonsilloliths.

Such "stones" are produced and ejected from tonsils and 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 which is downright foul-smelling (and foul-tasting).

The only known cure for tonsilloliths is tonsillectomy (no tonsils = no tonsil stones), though the article does outline more conservative measures which are encouraged first prior to surgery. More recently, there is a minimally invasive procedure called tonsil cryptolysis which also has the potential to eliminate this problem prior to considering tonsillectomy. Watch video of this procedure.

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

The Different Kinds of Bad Breath, Part 2: Tonsil Breath. Huffington Post 4/4/12

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio

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