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Mrs Chandra Selvam, Kuala Lumpur

Recently, I felt a little discomfort in my throat,  thought it was something that I had swallowed along with food or liquid. Always felt that something got stuck in my throat. No changes in the feelings for many days, neither my eating was disturbed nor had any severe pain. Decided to see the doctor for a fear of silent causes that would affect my throat. Discussed with my family; suggestion given was visit a doctor first before he prescribes for a scan or scope.

After ten days, I visited a doctor with anxiety, the huge medical equipments flashed my mind. Waited for half an hour at the doctor’s door. Finally, I was called, I told the story of my throat discomfort. He took a tongue press to check, along with he used a torch, I had to make aah aah sound with tongue down. He gently pressed up and down that made me cough, surprisingly I coughed out and a small whitish mass flew out my mouth. Doctor picked it up that settled on the floor. He showed it up and said tonsil stone. A new word in my dictionary, with astonishment I repeated ‘tonsil stone’. I have heard of kidney stones and not tonsil stones. It could have been a very rare case for him. He took the specimen to his colleagues and said loudly ‘look tonsil stones’.

Great relief after ten days of anxiety.

I posted the same specimen picture in my Facebook account, many comments revealed it was something that is not heard of, except one friend. Probably she may have had experienced the same. She suggested, gargle with asafoetida solution. Asafoetida is used mostly in Indian cooking to enhance flavour and to reduce gas formation. I tried it for the next three days, to my surprise the bits that remained dissolved and disappeared during mouth rinse.

My curiosity to learn more about tonsil stones made me search in Safari. Let me share what more I got to know. Tonsil stones are known as tonsillithos or tonsilliths.  Hardening of mucus, accumulation of bacteria or dry cells in the crypts, the tonsil pockets. Tonsils function as walls to prevent foreign elements from slipping through to the lungs. When the bacteria gets collected they fill the crypts causing  little or more discomfort to a person.


Colour may be grey, yellow or white. Though symptoms vary from person to person it can be related is bad breath being the most obvious though some may have redness or irritation in tonsils. The hardened bacteria is benign though it occupies in oral region between the tongue and the palate.

This occurs mostly in teens and to those with large tonsils. May afflict if the dental hygiene is poor.

Besides the cure I tried there are other self cure options too to get rid of the tonsil stones; scrape with tooth brush, use a cotton bud to express them from the tonsil pockets,  a simple pain free method, gargling with salt solution to loosen them.

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