6 Fastest Home Remedies for Tonsil Stones Removal

Are tonsil stones normal? Well in this article you will learn how to remove tonsil stones you can’t see, how to remove tonsil stones at home, what causes tonsil stones, tonsil stones pictures removal, how to remove tonsil stones without gagging, tonsil stones smell as well as how to prevent tonsil stones.

Are tonsil stones normal? Well in this article you will learn how to remove tonsil stones you can't see, how to remove tonsil stones at home, what causes tonsil stones, tonsil stones pictures removal, how to remove tonsil stones without gagging, tonsil stones smell as well as how to prevent tonsil stones.

What are Tonsil Stones?

Tonsil stones, also known as tonsilloliths, are calcified masses that can form on your palatine tonsils.

Tonsil stones happen when food particles, bacteria, or mucus get trapped in your tonsils. By eating specific foods or using specific mouthwashes, you might be able to get rid of them.

There are three types of tonsils:

  • palatine – on the sides of your throat
  • pharyngeal (adenoids) – at the back of nasopharynx above the palate
  • lingual – found at the back, or base, of your tongue

The palatine tonsils, which are visible at the back of your mouth or the top of your throat, are what most people refer to as their tonsils.

Food particles, germs, and mucus that become lodged in tiny pockets on your tonsils are the source of tonsil stones. The way one’s tonsils are shaped might cause particles and germs to become stuck. This trapped substance can cause pain and swelling as it accumulates.

Some complications caused by tonsil stones may include:

  • swelling
  • feeling of an obstruction at the top of your throat
  • foul smell and bad breath from the infection that increases over time
  • pain when swallowing, eating, or drinking

Signs of Tonsil Stones

Signs you may have tonsil stones: Many times, when you have tonsil stones, you won’t know it. They may clear up or be removed in the normal course of eating, drinking, and good oral hygiene.

However, if they increase in size, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • white or yellow flecks at the back of your throat that may grow larger over time
  • foul breath
  • sore throat
  • trouble swallowing
  • tonsil swelling
  • ear pain

Key takeaways:

  • Tonsil stones (tonsilloliths) are white or yellow deposits that can develop on the tonsils. They can cause bad breath (halitosis), sore throat, and discomfort with swallowing.
  • Most tonsil stones fall out on their own, but there are home remedies that can help speed up the process. You can gargle with warm saltwater gargles or apple cider vinegar to get rid of tonsil stones. Rinsing with a non-alcohol-based mouthwash can also help remove tonsil stones. 
  • Don’t try to dig out your tonsil stone with anything sharp or pointy. This can cause serious injury and bleeding. 

Tonsil stones (tonsilloliths) are white or yellowish deposits that build up in the folds of your tonsils. They’re made up of a mix of old cells, minerals from saliva, and bacteria.

Tonsil stones start off soft and then harden over time as more material builds up. 

How to Remove Tonsil Stones at Home

You might attempt to have your tonsil stones removed at home if they are small. Using a toothbrush or cotton swab, carefully scrape them off is the best method for doing this. Gargling or using a water pick can also aid in moving the stones.

Most tonsil stones don’t cause any symptoms, and people don’t even realize they have them. But as tonsil stones get bigger, they’re more likely to cause symptoms like bad breath and discomfort with swallowing. Some people also develop a feeling like something is caught in their throat. 

Most individuals desire to have their tonsils removed as soon as they become troublesome. Fortunately, tonsil stones typically come out on their own. But if you have a stubborn stone that won’t come out, there are ways to speed up the process at home.

Below: are 6 at-home remedies to get rid of tonsils stones that you can try right now: 

1. Non-alcohol-based mouthwash

Gargling mouthwash twice a day might assist in removing tonsil stones. Mouthwash also aids in the destruction of bacteria that are on and around your stone. Eliminating this bacteria limits the growth of your stone and prevents future formation of stones.

Make sure the mouthwash you use doesn’t include alcohol. The majority of mouthwashes have a high ethanol content. Although concentrated ethanol has strong antibacterial properties, it dries up the back of the throat. This can cause your stones to get harder and can also encourage new stone formation. 

Instead, look for mouthwash that is alcohol-free and contains an oxygenator, like:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Sodium perborate
  • Cetylpyridinium chloride

Without irritating your throat, oxygenators enter the tonsil fissures, kill bacteria, and prevent tonsil stones from forming.

2. Warm saltwater gargles

Warm water mixed with saltwater gargles can aid in the removal of tonsil stones. They can help reduce any swelling that your tonsils may be experiencing as a result of the stone.

To make saltwater gargles: 

  • Add 1 teaspoon of regular table salt to 1 cup of warm water. 
  • Stir the salt with a spoon until it dissolves completely.
  • Take a mouthful of your salty solution and tip your head back, gargle for 10 seconds, and then spit out the water. 
  • Repeat the process until you’ve used up most of the cup. This should take you about 5 minutes.

Throughout the day, you are free to use saltwater gargles as frequently as you desire. However, make an effort to utilize them at least twice or three times daily.

3. Water flosser

A water flosser is a device that creates a pulsing stream of water. Water flossers, like a Waterpik, are a popular alternative to regular string floss. But they have other uses too. If you have a water flosser at home, you can use it to encourage your tonsil stone to pop out. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Aim your water flosser toward your tonsil stone and turn on the water for about 20 seconds. 
  • Start out on the lowest possible setting. 
  • If after 20 seconds, you haven’t had any success, stop and try again in a few minutes. 
  • It also helps to lean over a sink while you’re irrigating. That way, if you dislodge the stone, it will fall forward into your mouth or the sink instead of back into your throat. 

If you don’t own a water flosser, you can try a low-pressure manual irrigator or irrigation kit. These look like a small tube that you can fill with water.

Then you squeeze the tube and the water comes out of the tip. You can buy these products at your local pharmacy or online. You can also use a syringe with a curved tip. 

Irrigators and water flossers work best on soft, small tonsil stones. Larger and harder stones will be harder to move.

4. Cotton-tipped swabs (Q-tips)

You can try to shift your tonsil stone using a cotton-tipped swab, like a Q-tip:

  • Stand in front of a mirror and turn on plenty of lights so that you can easily see your stone. 
  • Open your mouth as wide as possible and, using the mirror as a guide, gently prod your stone with the cotton swab. 
  • First, brush the swab directly over your stone. Some soft stones will stick onto the swab and come right off. 
  • If this doesn’t work, pushing gently on either side of the stone may encourage it to pop out. Make sure to be gentle, using too much force can lead to injury.

Never use anything sharp to move or dig out your tonsil stone. This can cause serious injury, bleeding, and infection. 

5. Apple cider vinegar rinse

Apple cider vinegar is a popular natural remedy and health supplement. It may also help dissolve your tonsil stone.

The acid in apple cider vinegar can help dissolve the minerals around a hard tonsil stone, making it softer and more likely to pop out on its own. 

To make an apple cider vinegar rinse:

  • Stir 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into a cup of warm water. 
  • Take a mouthful of your rinse, tilt your head back, and gargle for 10 to 15 seconds and then spit it out. 
  • Repeat this process 5 to 6 times. 
  • It’s best to limit apple cider vinegar rinses to twice a day so you don’t irritate the back of your throat. 

6. Cough

If you’re lucky, your tonsil stone may come out with a cough. There is no risk in trying this home treatment because you already have everything you need.

Cough 6 to 10 times in a row and see if that’s enough to bring out your tonsil stone. If you notice that your stone moved but isn’t completely out, try another couple of coughs.

Coughing doesn’t work for everyone. But when it does work, it’s safe and free!

How to Prevent Tonsil Stones

A surgical removal of the tonsils is the only technique to completely prevent tonsil stones. The usual reason for this treatment is to treat chronic tonsillitis.

Tonsils are pieces of tissue in the back of each side of the mouth. They contain lymph nodes and help filter out bacteria and viruses.

Small calcium deposits, called tonsil stones or tonsilloliths, can build up on tonsils. These usually build up around food, dead cells, or mucus that you usually swallow, but can sometimes get caught in small pockets of the tonsils’ mucus membrane coating.

This is the same substance that lines the inside of your mouth, nose, and throat.

Tonsil stones are hard in texture and yellow or white in color. They’re usually small — about the size of a grain of rice — but can grow large, up to about the size of a grape.

They’re most common in people who have repeated tonsillitis or have large tonsils.

Preventing Tonsil Stones and Bad Breath

The only way to fully prevent tonsil stones is to have your tonsils surgically removed. This procedure is called a tonsillectomy. It is usually used to treat chronic tonsillitis.

Tonsillectomies are most commonly done in childhood, but can also be done in adults. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia.

Side effects usually include a sore throat and trouble swallowing for a few days. Serious side effects are rare.

There are self-managed methods of preventing tonsil stones for persons who do not fit the requirements for a tonsillectomy (such as having seven episodes of tonsillitis or strep throat in a year).

Practice good oral hygiene

The ideal method for avoiding the formation of tonsil stones is this. Make sure you clean your tongue and teeth every morning, just before bed, and right after each meal.

In addition, you should floss every day. This helps keep debris from building up.


Mouthwash can help remove bacteria and debris from your mouth and reduce the formation of tonsil stones. It is recommended to use mouthwash that is alcohol-free.

Gargling water

Warm salt water gargling can help block viruses or bacteria from entering your tonsils and creating problems. It also has the potential to lessen tonsil stone discomfort.

Water pick

To assist remove dirt and bacteria from your mouth, you can use a water pick.

How to tell if you have tonsil stones or tonsillitis

How to know if u have tonsil stones: Small tonsil stones may not cause any symptoms.

However, potential symptoms include:

  • bad breath
  • throat irritation or a feeling like something is stuck in your throat
  • white bumps on your tonsils
  • trouble swallowing
  • tonsil redness
  • ear pain (if a tonsil stone is pressing on a nerve)

Many tonsil stone symptoms are similar to tonsillitis. However, tonsillitis also causes fever and headaches.

How to remove tonsil stones you can’t see

To remove the stone, gently press on the tonsil behind it using a cotton swab. Moreover, vigorous gargling and coughing might loosen stones. Gargle with salt water after removing the stone to get rid of any leftover bacteria.

Here are some things you can try:

  1. Gargle with warm saltwater.
  2. Cough vigorously to try and dislodge the stones.
  3. Use a water pick to flush tonsil stones out.
  4. Use a cotton swab to gently push the tonsil stones out.

How to remove tonsil stones without gagging

Try using a water flosser or a soft cotton swab to softly remove the tonsil stones so you don’t choke. Tonsil stones can also be avoided by maintaining proper oral hygiene, which includes gargling with saltwater on a regular basis.

Are tonsil stones normal?

Tonsil stones are common, and they rarely cause serious health issues. Many people have tonsil stones and don’t know it. You can treat them at home most of the time. Unless there are symptoms of infection, they do not usually require any medical treatment.

However, you should consult your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following: chronic sore throat that lasts more than a month.

What causes tonsil stones?

Your tonsils are filled with nooks and crannies where bacteria and other things, including dead cells and mucus, can get trapped. When this happens, the debris can bond together. Tonsil stones form when this debris hardens, or calcifies.

However, most tonsil stones are small, usually under 5mm across. The glands contain folds known as tonsillar crypts (folds). If your tonsillar crypts are enlarged, minerals such as calcium can become trapped, and calcify (harden) into stones. Bacteria or fungi that cause tonsillitis can also cause tonsil stones to form.

How do tonsil stones smell like

Tonsil stones are often described as smelling like sulfur, vomit and rotten eggs. The pungent strong odor is caused by the buildup of bacteria, food particles, and other debris in the tonsil crevices. The smell can sometimes be so intense that other people in our lives can smell the tonsil stones.

Halitosis: Bad breath is the most prevalent symptom of tonsil stones. Typically, the smell is sulfuric, like rotten eggs. Bad taste in mouth: You may experience a metallic taste in the back of the throat due to tonsil stones.

When to see a doctor about tonsil stones?

Rarely do tonsil stones result in any health problems. And they generally disappear by themselves. However, there are instances when you have to consult a medical professional regarding your tonsil stone.

See your healthcare provider if a stone is causing you discomfort or making it difficult for you to swallow, and you are unable to get rid of it on your own. If you suspect that your tonsil stone is accompanied by a tonsil infection (tonsillitis), you should also consult a doctor almost immediately. 

If your doctor thinks you have a tonsil infection, they could put you on antibiotics. To make you comfortable, they could also recommend painkillers. 

Your healthcare physician may also recommend an ENT, or otolaryngologist, who treats disorders of the ears, nose, and throat. With the use of cutting-edge instruments like ultrasonography, lasers, or surgery, they can remove your tonsil stone. 

Tonsil stones precautions

If your tonsil stones are large, causing you excessive pain, or are obstructing your throat or airway, you should seek medical attention.

Also, if you’ve tried to remedy the stones at home and they don’t go away or keep coming back, you should see a doctor. There are situations where trying to scrape them off with your finger or a cotton swab might exacerbate the infection. You should get medical help if this occurs.

You should see a doctor if your tonsil stones persist, continue to get larger, or if they’re large. If you’re having difficulty breathing, head to the nearest emergency room.

You should also see a doctor immediately if you have a combination of the following symptoms of possible tonsil cancer:

  • one tonsil is larger than the other
  • bloody saliva
  • difficulty swallowing or speaking
  • inability to tolerate eating citrus
  • neck pain
  • swelling or lump in the neck

Bottom line

Tonsil stones (tonsilloliths) are white or yellowish deposits that develop on the tonsils. Tonsil stones are usually harmless. But they can cause symptoms like bad breath, discomfort with swallowing, and a feeling like something is caught in your throat.

Most tonsil stones will fall out or go away on their own. But you can also treat tonsil stones at home with things like warm saltwater gargles, apple cider vinegar rinses, and non-alcohol-based mouthwash rinses. Sometimes tonsils stones also fall out if you cough.

See a healthcare provider if you have a stone that won’t come out. There are other treatment options your healthcare provider can try to get your tonsil stone out.

See: How to Get Rid of Sore Throat