Tonsils trap old cells and microorganisms, which are then attacked by the lymph tissue in the tonsils. This can result in the formation of foul smelling, hardened debris, called tonsil stones. Most of the time, these stones are small so they are swallowed and do not cause symptoms. However, in certain people, they can grow and become bothersome. They are very common and can happen to anyone at any age.
Tonsil stones can grow large and cause symptoms when there are deep holes or crypts in the tonsils. These crypts form from scarring in the tonsillar tissue. Usually there is another inciting factor, such as colonization of yeast or bacteria in the mouth, post nasal drip, or food allergies that cause the tonsils to work overtime.
Symptoms of tonsil stones can be frequent or intermittent and happen at any time to anyone.
Once you develop tonsil stones they may be hard to treat. Nasal sprays that reduce post nasal drip and oral rinses to clear oral bacteria can reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms. Diet change, specifically removing processed sugars and alcohol, can also reduce symptoms. If all else fails and your symptoms are severe, you can be considered for a tonsillectomy to remove your tonsils.