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I still have memories of being a teenager and randomly coughing up white rocks. At the time, I either spat them out or sometimes swallowed them if I felt them fall from inside my mouth. I definitely regret swallowing them; they taste worse than a barf jelly bean.
Recently, as I’ve continued to cough up these rocks over the years, I’ve gotten more curious about what they are and why they keep coming back. Turns out, these annoying things have a name: tonsil stones.
What Are Tonsil Stones?
Tonsil stones are small white or yellow calcified masses (that can resemble rocks or pebbles) on or surrounding the tonsils. Tonsil stones can be caused by debris getting caught in the crevices on and around your tonsils including food, mucus from postnasal drip, and other trapped bacteria.
While there isn’t yet a specific way to prevent tonsil stones from returning, Cleveland Clinic recommends brushing your teeth regularly and warm salt-water rinses to keep those pesky stones at bay.
Ahead, learn about five ways tonsil stones can be removed at home or by a doctor. I’ve tried four of these five methods with mixed results, but they might work for you as everyone’s throat is different. The fifth method is one that I’m the most nervous to try.