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Your tonsils are areas of tissue in the back of your throat. They are part of the immune system, which helps your body fight infection. Tonsil tissue has small gaps in it. Tonsil stones form when bacteria and debris get stuck in those gaps and harden.
Tonsil stones look like white or yellow pebbles on your tonsils. They can cause bad breath, a sore throat, a bad taste in your mouth, and ear pain. Or they may not cause any symptoms.
Usually, tonsil stones can be treated at home. But large stones that cause pain or other problems may have to be removed by a doctor. And if your tonsil stones keep coming back or are bothering you a lot, your doctor may recommend removing your tonsils.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
Current as of: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Charles M. Myer III MD - Otolaryngology & Thomas M. Bailey MD - Family Medicine
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