Tonsil Stone Causes and Treatment

A doctor examines the throat of a woman in an exam room.

Sore throats affect millions of people each year. 

From mild inflammation due to allergies to a bacterial infection or tonsil stones, sore throats can cause symptoms like pain and difficulty swallowing.

When many people think of sore throats, they often attribute it to a simple viral infection or, sometimes, strep throat, but another culprit could be at play: tonsil stones.

While they exhibit some of the same symptoms as a standard sore throat, they’re caused by completely different things than a common sore or strep throat. 

If you or a loved one are experiencing sore throat pain, we encourage you to visit our urgent care facility to get to the bottom of it sooner, as it could be tonsil stones.

Let’s dive deeper into understanding what tonsil stones are, including tonsil stone causes and treatment options available to you. 

What Are Tonsil Stones?

Tonsil stones are common, small lumps on the tonsils (a pair of small, oval-shaped tissue bits located at the back of your throat).  

As the name suggests, tonsil stones look like small white or yellow pebbles or stones on your tonsils. 

People may have one tonsil stone or many tonsil stones. Although often small in size, in rare cases, people with tonsil stones experience large ones.

What Causes Tonsil Stones?

The tonsils in your throat work with the immune system to combat infection in the throat. They have small gaps, crevices, and folds known as tonsillar crypts.

Debris from food and other sources can get trapped in these tonsillar crypts, which begin to harden or calcify, forming tonsil stones. 

Although food is the most common culprit, trapped material could include:

  • Minerals such as calcium.
  • Bacteria or fungi.

Anyone at any age can develop tonsil stones, but those at increased risk usually include people with more tonsillar crypts. 


Most people with tonsil stones do not know they have them because they do not experience any symptoms. 

When symptoms do occur, they usually include:

  • Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth 
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Earache
  • Small white or yellow stones that you may spit up
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A feeling that something’s stuck in your throat
  • Small white patches on your tonsils
  • Throat infections

Tonsil Stone Treatment 

There is no specific treatment for tonsil stones. Usually, treatment aims to manage tonsil stone symptoms.

Some practical ways to reduce the risk of developing tonsil stones or mitigate their associated symptoms are to

  • Brush your teeth regularly.
  • Gargle with warm salt water daily.

In more severe cases, you may need to visit a medical professional for further evaluation and treatment options that could include the surgical removal of large tonsil stones or a complete tonsillectomy, a procedure that completely removes your tonsils.

Rapid and Effective Tonsil Care in Amory

If you or a loved one is experiencing swollen tonsils, difficulty swallowing, or a painful sore throat accompanied by bad breath, it could be tonsil stones. You should visit our urgent care center today for further evaluation.

Our experienced and compassionate team at Amory Urgent Care is available seven days a week with no appointments necessary to provide a thorough diagnosis for painful swallowing.

Walk in to get the care you need now.