Tonsilloliths or tonsil stones form in the crevices of the tonsils, the small, soft tissue glands on both sides of the back of the throat. While the growths do not pose an immediate health risk, symptoms of tonsil stones can be unpleasant and uncomfortable, causing bad breath and throat pain. Stones that grow abnormally large may require minor surgery.
Tonsil stones are tiny, pebble-like pieces of bacteria, dead cells, food particles, and mucus that collect in tiny crevices dotting the surface of the tonsils (tonsil crypts). They 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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