What Causes Tonsil Stones To Form
Most often oral plaque is responsible for tonsil stone formation. Oral plaque is a sticky, colorless film containing millions of bacteria. These bacteria continually multiply, forming more plaque that spreads in places throughout the mouth.
The spread of plaque, if not disrupted, will form layers that coat the teeth, tongue, and gumline. Underneath these layers of plaque are pockets of low-oxygen environments where anaerobic bacteria thrive, also reaching millions in number.
When there are high populations of plaque and its associated bacteria present in the mouth, there are also high amounts in the saliva. There are untold billions of more bacteria that are swallowed each day when oral plaque is present compared to when it is not.
As saliva travels down the throat, the tonsils act as a bacteria filter. If the tonsils become overwhelmed, the bacteria can accumulate, clumping together along with various debris. The clumps eventually harden, forming tonsil stones.
Connection With Bad Breath
Tonsil Stones are connected with bad breath for two main reasons:
1. The plaque-associated bacteria that grows on the tongue, teeth, and gum-line (the main cause of tonsil stone formation) include a type of bacteria classified as gram-negative anaerobic bacteria. These bacteria are known to release Volatile Sulfur Compounds (VSC's)– otherwise known as bad breath.
2. Because tonsil stones are partially made up of gram-negative anaerobic bacteria, tonsil stones themselves release VSC's.
While tonsil stones themselves release VSC's, they are often not the root cause of bad breath or its largest contributor. Usually, the plaque-associated bacteria growing on the tongue, teeth, and gum-line are responsible for most VSC's.