Tonsil stones, also known as tonsil debris, tonsil calculus, or tonsillolith, are calcareous deposits that form in the tonsil crevices in some people. These deposits consist of organic debris, bacteria and dead cells. If these stones burst, they release a particularly foul smell. That smell may cause halitosis, popularly known as bad breath.
The cause of tonsil stones is still subject to debate. Some argue that they are the hard reside of food that is melted by the digestive enzymes in saliva. Other theories cite ectopia, abscess, tonsillitis, cold and phlegm, and poor hygiene. Usually found in the tonsil crypts, stones may also form in the roof of the mouth or farther back in the throat. Symptoms include coughing, bad breath, sore throat and / or a feeling of a foreign object stuck in one's throat. A single piece may be no bigger than a few millimeters, or as large as an inch. Depending on where they are found and how big they are, these anomalies can be removed with the fingers, by coughing, use natural remedies or special oral products or in extreme cases, surgery. Removal of tonsils is not advisable as tonsils are there to catch bacteria and keep them from settling deeper in the throat.
Although embarrassing and annoying, tonsil stones are really more disgusting than harmful. The best approach is prevention through frequent use of mouthwash, special toothpaste, proper diet, and regular visits to the dentist. Do not try to remove persistent stones by yourself. Consult a doctor.