Tonsils are a pair of lymphoid tissues located on either side of throat. They are part of immune system and their primary function is to protect the body from bacteria and viruses which enter from the mouth and nose. When the food particles, bacteria and debris get trapped in the crypts of tonsils the condition is called cryptic tonsils.
You can see white debris material in the folds of tonsils. Cryptic tonsils are more common in people suffering from recurrent bouts of tonsillitis. The condition is also known with other names such as tonsil stones, fetid tonsils, tonsillolith etc.
Usually cryptic tonsils is not dangerous for the body, however, it can produce unpleasant bad odor from the mouth. Several remedial measures are available to curb bad breath emitted from cryptic tonsils.
How Do You Get Cryptic Tonsils?
Tonsils are naturally made up of tiny folds and wrinkles. Cryptic tonsils are unusually wrinkly and therefore they are more susceptible to trap food particles. Dead cells, bacteria, and pus cells can also build up in cryptic tonsils. Some of the bacteria which produce sulfur compounds are responsible for producing bad odor from mouth, which in medical parlance is called halitosis.
However, it has to be remembered that cryptic tonsils is not the only one which produces bad breath, there are many other reasons for bad breath. Actually, only 3 percent of cases of bad breath from mouth result from cryptic tonsils. There are several other reasons such as poor oral hygiene, tooth decay, gingivitis etc. Recurrent tonsillitis makes the tonsils enlarged and the crypts in tonsils become more prominent.
Symptoms Of Cryptic Tonsils
When you open your mouth, cryptic tonsils appear as if white beads are laden on tonsils. These white beads are formed of tiny food particles, trapped bacteria and dead cells. Cryptic tonsils appear similar to streptococcal throat infection; therefore many times it becomes difficult for the physician to diagnose it only from inspection of tonsils.
The most common symptom of cryptic tonsils is bad breath from mouth. Usually it is the patient who notices it first. It is because of the impacted material in the folds of tonsils. Because of viruses and bacteria that are trapped, sometimes there may be sore throat and infection. This results in pain while swallowing food and liquid.
Cryptic tonsils can become enlarged and cause difficulty in breathing as well as talking. Infection often leads to fever. A yellow or white discharge may coat the tonsils. The discharge is from the microorganisms which are trapped in the crypts of the tonsils.
How To Get Rid Of Cryptic Tonsils?
Most cases of cryptic tonsillitis are mild and do not require any treatment. Sometimes treatment with antibiotics helps to reduce the size of swollen tonsils. Patient gets relieved from foul breath as the bacteria are killed.
Another natural remedy to prevent bad odor from mouth is salt water gargling. Put a pinch of salt in a glass of lukewarm water. Gargling with this solution three times in a day soothes the sore throat as well as curbs bad breath from mouth. Salt has mild antibacterial qualities. It helps to kill bacteria trapped in the crevices of tonsils and also clears debris from the crypts.
Gargle with vinegar solution. In a glass of lukewarm water, add one or two teaspoon of vinegar and gargle your throat with this solution. It helps to clear off the white dots from the crypts. It also reduces throat pain.
If all the above methods fail, laser ablation therapy may help to make the surface of tonsils smooth. It helps to get rid of hidden tiny pockets from the tonsils. It is an office procedure where laser beam is focused to ablate the crevices in the tonsils. It takes about 30 minutes for the procedure. Local anesthesia may be used by the doctor in most cases to reduce pain.
Last option is to remove the tonsils surgically. The operation performed is called tonsillectomy. However, the operation is only recommended if the condition is severe or the patient has recurrent episodes of streptococcal infection in throat.