Cryptic Tonsils – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Removal, Prevention

Cryptic tonsils, also referred to as tonsil stones or tonsilloliths, is a medical condition that looks like white beads on your tonsils.

The word “cryptic” originates from the Greek “kryptos” translating as concealed or hidden.

This condition looks similar to strep throat (inflammation and pain in the throat) or another throat infection. Therefore, many times, this condition becomes difficult for the doctor to diagnose only from inspection of your tonsils.

This medical condition is rather uncomfortable and unpleasant, and rarely dangerous (only if the stones occlude the flow of air and get too big).

It may cause bad breath and a sore throat. Also, it could occur in individuals of every age.

Symptoms of Cryptic Tonsils

  • individuals who suffer from this condition usually experience chronic halitosis (also known as bad breath) mostly because of the crushed tonsil stones and trapped harmful bacteria which emit foul-smelling odors;
  • odynophagia – pain felt in the throat or mouth;
  • the debris in the crypts can create hard formations around the tonsil area, known as tonsil stones;
  • inflammation of the throat;
  • difficulty swallowing, also referred to as dysphagia;
  • other signs and symptoms may include – coughing, high fever, earache, headaches, low energy, fatigue, or loss of voice.

Note – smaller stones may bring no effect to day-to-day activities, nevertheless, larger ones will bring some level of negativity and discomfort into your life.


Your tonsils are made up of tunnels, crevices, and pits. Different types of debris, like – mucus, dead cells, food, bacteria, and saliva, may get trapped in these pockets and build up over time.

Additionally, 75% of individuals who had high amounts of sulfur in their mouths also had this condition, according to a 2008 study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, São Paulo, Brazil.

People with naturally big tonsils are more prone to suffer from this condition since their tonsils are more likely to trap food particles, bacteria, and other debris.


It is commonly made upon inspection by your doctor.


Many patients seek treatment for this condition mainly due to the bad smell associated with it, and commonly, it is the sufferer who observes the smell the most.

However, when the tonsil stone doesn’t bring any harm in the form of ache or pain and is very small, it is recommended to let it dissolve by itself.

A standard method to cure this condition is to have the tonsils removed through a tonsillectomy. Nevertheless, this should be avoided if possible, because many patients do not know that the tonsils are a vital part of the immune system.

For example, the tonsils filter out the harmful germs and bacteria which enter the physical body through the nose or mouth while producing antibodies and white blood cells.

Since the mouth and nose are the two most-used passages from the outside of the physical body, the tonsils are non-stop subjected to a barrage of harmful bacteria and other potentially inflammatory or infectious organisms.

Also, tonsillectomy, as useful as it may be, has an uncomfortable and very painful postoperative recovery which usually lasts approximately half a month or more. An alternative to this procedure is somnoplasty, a unique surgical method in which the surgeon burns away the tonsil tissue.

You can also get the stones out by using a cotton swab to pick the tonsil stones out of the pits or crypts. But this can be really risky and quite difficult, besides, there are no studies which can support this practice.

How To Prevent Tonsil Stones?

This condition occurs when your tonsils get contaminated, plus, it could be triggered by either infections or microorganisms. Therefore, boosting your immune system should be the primary goal of preventing this condition.

Avoid Dairy Products

The more milk and dairy products you ingest, the bigger the chances for a post nasal drip to build up inside the crypts of your tonsils.

In addition, dairy products can be inflammatory, therefore, they aggravate various health conditions, like – asthma, eczema, mood disorders, acne, schizophrenia, autism, inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, and more.

Essential Oils

Some essential oils have strong anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which are quite beneficial for this medical condition. Some of these natural remedies include – myrrh essential oil, lemongrass essential oil, and thieves essential oil.

Physical Exercise

Recent studies have concluded that doing exercise daily has strong immunity-boosting powers since a physical activity gets white blood cells and antibodies moving through your body faster.

Thus, they may detect illnesses sooner. However, it is not recommended to practice physical exercise if you have a cold.

Eat Foods Rich In Zinc Which Can Boost Your Immune System

Feeding your physical body certain foods may help keep your immune system strong.

These foods include – ginger, garlic, oranges, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, chia seeds, tangerines, flax seeds, sesame seeds, clementines, sunflower seeds, limes, walnuts, lemons, almonds, hazelnuts, chickpeas, red kidney beans, navy beans, mung beans, lentils, tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupe, onion, peppers, spices, cabbages, spinach, kale, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, berries, mushrooms, oatmeal, cayenne peppers, oat bran, carrots, or turnips.

Image credit – Shutterstock

READ THIS NEXT: Dextroscoliosis vs Levoscoliosis


Leave a Comment