Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry

5 Easy Ways to Prevent Tonsil Stones in Your Child

5 Easy Ways to Prevent Tonsil Stones in Your Child

Reviewed by Dr. Henry Martinez, DMD

Reading time: four minutes.

As a parent, you’re always on the lookout for ways to keep your child healthy and happy. You may have heard of tonsil stones, but aren’t sure what they are or how to prevent them. 

This blog will provide you with everything you need to know about tonsil stones and how to keep them from forming in your child’s mouth.

Key Takeaway

Tonsil stones are small, off-white or yellowish formations that can develop in the crevices of the tonsils. You can prevent them from forming with good oral hygiene, gargling with salt water, drinking plenty of water, eating a healthy diet and regular dental checkups.

What are Tonsil Stones?

Tonsil stones, also known as tonsilloliths, are small, off-white or yellowish formations that can develop in the crevices of the tonsils (tonsil crypts). They are formed when debris, such as food particles, dead cells, and bacteria, get trapped in these crevices.


Tonsil stones don’t always cause noticeable symptoms, but some common signs to watch out for include:

  • Bad breath: One of the most noticeable symptoms is persistent bad breath, often described as a foul or sulfurous odor. This is due to the bacterial infection that thrive within the stones. You may also notice a bad taste in the back of the throat.
  • Sore throat: Larger stones can sometimes cause throat irritation or a feeling of something stuck in the back of the throat.
  • Ear pain: In some cases, they can cause pain that feels like it’s coming from the ears. This happens because the tonsils are located near the ear canal, and the discomfort can be referred or radiated to the ears.
  • Visible white or yellow formations: If the stones are large enough, you may be able to see them as white or yellow spots on the tonsils.


Tonsil stones form due to a combination of factors, including:

  • Tonsil crypts: The tonsils have natural crevices or pockets called crypts, where debris can accumulate and become trapped.
  • Poor oral hygiene: Inadequate brushing and flossing can lead to a buildup of food particles and bacteria in the mouth, increasing the risk of tonsil stones.
  • Chronic tonsillitis: Repeated tonsil infections can cause enlarged or swollen tonsils and more prone to trapping debris. Surgical removal of the tonsils (tonsillectomy) is sometimes recommended for individuals with chronic tonsillitis.
  • Diet: Certain foods, such as dairy products and sugary snacks, can promote bacterial growth and contribute to the formation of tonsil stones.

5 Easy Ways to Prevent Tonsil Stones

1. Maintain good oral hygiene:

  • Ensure your child brushes their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily to remove food debris from between teeth.
  • Encourage your child to brush their tongue to remove bacteria.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash or water picks (water flosser) to help kill bacteria.

2. Gargle with warm salt water:

  • Mix half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water.
  • Have your child gargle for 30 seconds, then spit it out.
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day.

3. Stay hydrated:

  • Drinking plenty of water helps wash away food particles and bacteria.
  • Encourage your child to drink water throughout the day.

4. Eat a healthy diet:

  • Limit sugary snacks and drinks.
  • Encourage fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Reduce dairy intake if it seems to trigger stone formation.

5. Regular dental checkups:

  • Schedule regular dental visits for professional cleanings and checkups.
  • Early detection and treatment of dental issues can help prevent this problem.

Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry: Your Kids Dentist in Phoenix, AZ

Prevention is key when it comes to dental issues. By following these simple tips and maintaining good oral hygiene habits, you can help keep your child’s mouth healthy and free of tonsil stones. 

If you have any concerns about your child’s oral health or suspect they have enlarged tonsil stones, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation.

If you are searching for “top pediatric dentist near me” or “pediatric dentist in Phoenix AZ” we can help. Call (602) 935-7427 to make an appointment or complete the online booking form.

Stay tuned for our next blog about canker sores 😬


How can I tell if my child has tonsil stones?

Look for persistent bad breath, complaints of a sore throat, ear pain, or visible white or yellow formations on the tonsils. If these symptoms are present, it may be worth consulting with a dentist or pediatrician for a proper diagnosis.

Are tonsil stones contagious?

No, tonsil stones are not contagious. They are caused by a buildup of debris and bacteria in the tonsil crypts, not by a viral or bacterial infection that can be spread to others.

Can tonsil stones go away on their own?

In some cases, tonsil stones can dislodge and go away on their own. However, maintaining good oral hygiene and using methods like gargling with salt water can help to remove them more effectively.

When should I consider taking my child to see a doctor or dentist?

If your child experiences significant discomfort, difficulty swallowing, or persistent bad breath that doesn’t improve with good oral hygiene practices, it’s a good idea to consult with your pediatric dentist.