Tonsil Stones: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 10/23/2020

Tonsil stones, medically known as tonsilloliths, are small calcifications resembling stones that can form in the crypts of the tonsils in the back of the throat.

Signs and symptoms associated with tonsil stones can include

Small tonsil stones are common, but large stones are rare.

Cause of tonsil stones

An immune reaction to a buildup of food, bacteria, mucus, and debris that can become stuck in the tonsils causes tonsil stones. People with frequent infections of the tonsils are at increased risk for developing tonsil stones. Other risk factors include poor dental hygiene, large tonsils, dry mouth due to medication side effects, and chronic sinus infections.

Other tonsil stones symptoms and signs

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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.