CAN YOU USE A WATERPIK FOR TONSIL STONES?
Kidneys aren't the only place where people develop hard and sometimes painful stones. They can develop in your tonsils as well. If you are a tonsil stone sufferer, you know how uncomfortable the symptoms can be when the stones have had time to grow. Where do these stones come from and can we use a water flosser to remove tonsil stones? In this article we will get to the bottom of these questions and more.
What are Tonsil Stones?
Tonsils are tissue in the back of the throat and are a part of our body's immune system that filters out bacteria and viruses. Tonsil stones, also called tonsilloliths are benign accumulations of bacteria and other debris in the nooks and crannies of these tonsils.
Because our tonsils can have deep pits and craters, food debris and bacteria can become lodged in. As they continue to be pressed into these areas they form into tonsil stones. Although they are not normally visible, they have a yellow hue and are usually no bigger than a pencil top eraser.
WARNING: This video contains grotesque footage of tonsil stone removal!!
What are the Symptoms of Tonsil Stones?
Tonsil stones may go unnoticed at first, but as they grow and become larger symptoms can include:
- The feeling of something at the back of the throat which can cause difficulty swallowing
- Bad breath accompanied by a tonsil infection
- Sore throat
- Ear pain
How are Tonsil Stones Typically Treated?
Tonsils do not necessarily need to be removed because they are considered to be harmless. But quite frankly I don't blame you if you want to remove them after you've seen the above video and do not want them hanging around in your tonsils. Medical procedures include:
- Laser Tonsil Cryptolosis - A laser is used to eliminate the crypts where stones form.
- Coblation Cryptolysis - Like the laser, charged ions are used instead to eliminate these crypts.
- Tonsillectomy - Surgical removal of the tonsils.
Antibiotics and manual removal can also be used but these procedures should be discussed with your doctor.
Home remedies which are easier and less invasive than medical procedures include using a water flosser (which we will explain in-depth below), gargling with salt water, etc.
How can a Water Flosser Help With Tonsil Stones?
Although Waterpik designed the water flosser specifically for cleaning between the teeth and below the gumline, some tonsil stone sufferers have found another use for it. Using a Waterpik to remove tonsil stones can be an effective method that doesn't require a trip to the doctor's office. It will keep your mouth clean and fresh at that!
A water flosser utilizes a thin stream of water pressure to clean out debris and plaque between the teeth and gums. The crypts in your tonsils can be compared to the spaces between the gums and teeth where debris gets lodged. A water flosser can be used to send that stream of water pressure into these crypts to massage and dislodge any tonsil stones that may have developed over time. In any case it is always best to consult your dentist before making any oral care changes like using a water flosser for tonsil stones. Water flossers were not designed for this use.
According to tonsilstoness.com, their research of remedies and methods has lead them to believe that using a Waterpik for tonsil stones is the best remedy. Use the water flosser to massage the area around the stones in order for them to be dislodged and flushed out into the sink. Using this method is simple and less drastic than other measures. In a NY Times article, Dr. Zimmer (an otolaryngologist at the University of Cincinnati) recommends that you try this for a month to see how it goes as tonsillectomy is a big step to take.
What is the Best Waterpik for Removing Tonsil Stones?
While others can probably do the trick, here is a great Waterpik water flosser that we think would work well if you are attempting tonsil stone removal and why:
Waterpik Ultra Water Flosser for Tonsil Stones:
The Waterpik Ultra is a good quality device and has a very high range of pressure settings. 10 to be exact. The pressure ranges between 10 and 90 PSI so you can try many different ranges to find the one that suits your needs for tonsil stone removal. Some may like more pressure, some may like less. In this Mayo Clinic article, it is recommended to use the lowest pressure of an oral irrigator for tonsil stone removal.
It also has an ergonomic handle with a pause button on it so you can quickly stop at any time if it feels uncomfortable. And this may be the case at first until you become used to it.
It comes with an assortment of tips.
Check out our other reviews of Waterpik water flossers.
Once people start to notice symptoms of their tonsil stones, they are looking for easier methods to remove them at home rather than having to get a medical procedure done such as tonsillectomy. Using a water flosser for tonsil stones is an easy, effective method that sufferers may want to consider before turning to other drastic measures, but it's important to consult your dentist first. The Waterpik Ultra is what we recommend to begin with if this is the route you are wanting to go.
*Remember to always consult a dental professional for advice on your personal oral care needs. One solution does not fit all.