Tonsilloliths or tonsil stones form in the crevices of the tonsils, the small, soft tissue glands lying at both sides of the back of the throat. While these growths do not pose an immediate health risk, symptoms of tonsil stones can be unpleasant and uncomfortable and include bad breath and minor throat pain. Some people require minor surgery to safely remove stones that grow abnormally large.
Tonsil stones are tiny, pebble-like pieces of bacteria, dead cells, food particles, and mucous that collect in tiny crevices dotting the surface of the tonsils (tonsil crypts). More specifically, tonsil stones are composed of magnesium and calcium salts such as oxalates, ammonium radicals, and hydroxyapatites. The white or gray stones often remain undetected until a dentist discovers them during an examination.
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