Tonsil stones - six ways to know if you have them

Have you ever had irritation or discomfort in your throat and weren't sure if if it was plaque? Keep reading to learn more
Tonsil stones - six ways to know if you have them
Nelton Abdon Ramos Rojas

Written and verified by the doctor Nelton Abdon Ramos Rojas.

Last update: 16 June, 2022

The presence of tonsil stones is one of the most common throat infection symptoms. Continue reading to find out how to detect them and what you can do at home to eliminate them.

In some cases, tonsil stones may appear as a result of acute pharyngitis, according to this study conducted in a medical consensus document in the journal Primary Care. In these cases, it’s purulent and can be accompanied by various discomforts such as fever, difficulty swallowing, and sore throat, among others.

You must consult a doctor for evaluation and subsequent diagnosis. Then, once you know what’s the most appropriate treatment you must follow it while also improving you daily habits. This is the only way to get rid of tonsil stones.

How to detect tonsil stones in your throat?

Let’s see which are the symptoms that commonly indicate their presence in your throat.

1. Pain and difficulty swallowing

plaque in your throat

The pain can be intense and be the most irritating when swallowing. It usually starts with a slight itch that grows until it’s difficult to do certain things like eat, drink or swallow saliva.

If it’s a bacterial infection, the tonsil stones are wide-spread and the pain can be piercing and annoying. In this case, it’s important to follow an antibiotic treatment prescribed by your doctor.

Also read: Try These 7 Remedies for a Sore Throat

2. Earaches happen due to tonsil stones


In case of a viral infection, you may feel pain in the jaw and head, because of the inflammation of the connective nerve, as stated in this study by Clinica Las Condes in Chile. Antibiotics aren’t a good treatment here so don’t self-medicate. Instead, you must consult your doctor so they can prescribe the most appropriate medication.

3. Bad Breath

Bad Breath

Bad breath can also be a sign of the presence of tonsil stones in your throat. Note it does not occur in all cases but it’s usually common in cases of streptococcal infection. At least this is what this study conducted by the Centro de Salud Coronel de Palma en Mostoles in Madrid claims.

4. Check the lymph nodes in your neck


The lymph nodes trap and destroy the germs in the throat area. They’ll hurt when you have strep throat due to inflammation, according to this study by the National Institute of Pediatrics.

Use your fingertips to explore the area in front of your ear and move your fingers with circular movements behind the ear. Check your neck, under your chin as it’s common for lymph nodes to swell in there.

Also, check under the jaw, halfway between your chin and your ears. Move the fingers from the center of the neck back and toward each ear. The entire area of the lymph nodes could be swollen due to infection and tonsil stones.

5. Check your tongue to find out if you have tonsil stones

Check Your Tongue

People with strep throat often have a grainy covering of small red spots on the tongue, near the throat. They may be light red and dark and even inflamed. At least according to this information obtained from the Mayo Clinic.

6. Spotted tonsils

Generally, inflammation causes inflamed tonsils. The tonsils will usually turn bright red and are larger than normal. They could also be covered in white or yellow patches.

Tonsil stones could be viral. Antibiotics won’t be effective if the tonsil stones are due to seasonal flu. For such cases, it’s best to opt for home remedies or homeopathy.

We recommend that you read: How to Naturally Soothe Swollen Tonsils

What can you do about tonsil stones?

In addition to following your doctor’s instructions, you must maintain good daily habits in order to heal.

  • Maintain good oral hygiene
  • Use mouthwash and gargle with it to relieve discomfort
  • Don’t share personal hygiene instruments, together with glasses and other food utensils
  • Air your house every day for at least 10 minutes
  • Don’t resort to home remedies unless prescribed by your doctor

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Font, E. (2001). Faringitis y amigdalitis . Tratamiento etiológico y sintomático. Ambito Farmaceutico.
  • Couloigner, V. (2010). Amigdalitis. EMC – Tratado de Medicina.
  • Wahba, N. M., Ahmed, A. S., & Ebraheim, Z. Z. (2010). Antimicrobial Effects of Pepper, Parsley, and Dill and Their Roles in the Microbiological Quality Enhancement of Traditional Egyptian Kareish Cheese. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease.
  • Longaray Delamare, A. P., Moschen-Pistorello, I. T., Artico, L., Atti-Serafini, L., & Echeverrigaray, S. (2007). Antibacterial activity of the essential oils of Salvia officinalis L. and Salvia triloba L. cultivated in South Brazil. Food Chemistry.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.