What are Tonsil Stones

Tonsil Stones: Definition, Causes, and Symptoms

This question is the commonly asked question by patients to doctor when they come to know that they have tonsil stones. Tonsil stone, which is also known as tonsillolith, is white or yellow coloured cluster of mucus and bacteria that get held in the back side of the throat. These stones are crypts that form in the narrow track or cracks of the tonsils. They may be hard and even painful in some people. Before getting into details of what are tonsil stones, and what are their symptoms it is important to know about tonsils.

Tonsils are cavity like structures in the backside of the throat. Tonsils are made of body tissues known as lymphocytes, which fight with the infection and improve immune system of a person by filtering out bacteria and other virus from throat. Surprisingly, many people do not at all know about the definition.


Nowadays, what are the stones made of? It’s not a difficult and unanswered question anymore. Most of the medical experts believe that these tonsil stones are because of trapped food debris in tonsils along with bacteria and other material. This debris is calcified or hardened like stones called tonsilloliths. Many people have small tonsil stones and having large and calcified stone is rare, but possible in few cases.


The question after what are tonsil stones made of, is followed by what are its symptoms. In case of small stones, the symptoms are not present or are not noticeable. However, in case of large stone formation in tonsils, X- ray or CT scan helps in diagnosis of such problem. Though there are many symptoms, some prominent symptoms are:

Sore throat– It becomes difficult to identify the reason of pain in throat when the tonsil stones are formed. It may be because of infection or because of the presence of stones. However, tonsil stone may cause pain in the region where it is formed. People sometimes mistaken tonsil stones as symptoms of strep throat.

White debris– These are white or yellow coloured solid lumps hidden in the layers of tonsils. These are usually food debris along with bacteria. You can detect them only with the help of non-invasive scanning techniques such as CT Scans.

Bad breath– Bad breath is the main indicator! A very bad smelled breath may be a cause of this condition. This smell is created due to mixing of volatile sulphur compounds and bacteria with postnasal drip. After thorough research, medical experts concluded that, the people having abnormally high levels of these compounds might also have tonsil stones.

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