White Spots On Tonsils – Are They Tonsil Stones?

February 17, 2010

White spots on tonsils are a common complaint and can have a variety of causes, including tonsil stones, tonsillitis and even a strep infection.

Tonsil stones usually present as tiny, hard stone-like objects that are white or yellow-white in color. They form in the tonsil crypts, small pocket-like structures in the tonsils that collect bacteria, dead cells, food particles and mucus caused by post nasal drip. As they grow in size and protrude from the tonsil crypts, they can easily look like white spots on the tonsils.

No one is absolutely sure how many people suffer from tonsil stones. A recent article in the New York Times cited a 2007 French study in which approximately six percent of study participants had tonsil stones. Dr. Harold Katz, a Los Angeles dentist who specializes in bad breath and taste disorders, thinks the percentage of adults with tonsil stones is significantly higher because the number of tonsillectomies performed has dropped sharply since the 1950s and 1960s, when the operation was almost a rite of passage for America’s youth.

One sure way to stop tonsil stones is a tonsillectomy, which also typically puts an end to chronic tonsillitis and other bacteria or viral-based infections of the tonsils. Most doctors are cautious about removing the tonsils of adults solely for the purpose of stopping tonsil stones. However, most patients who have the stones are anxious or even desperate for a remedy because the stones have an extremely disagreeable odor.

In cases like these, vigorous gargling with a non-alcoholic mouthwash or the use of an oral irrigator (such as a Waterpik) can dislodge and clear the stones from the oral cavity. According to Dr. Katz, an oxygenating oral rinse can also be used to kill odor-causing anaerobic bacteria in the mouth, while a nasal sinus spray will curb the post nasal drip that is the source of mucus in the tonsil crypts. Products like these are part of a tonsil stones starter kit sold at Therabreath.com.

While tonsil stones are a common cause of white spots on the tonsils, chronic tonsillitis and strep infections can also cause white spots on the tonsils and in other places in the oral cavity. If in doubt, be sure to consult a doctor or ENT, especially if you have a fever, about those white spots on your tonsils.

The Valentine’s Day Kiss: Six Tips For The Perfect Valentine’s Day Kiss

February 12, 2010

The Valentine’s Day kiss is not only one of the great romantic events of the year, it’s also a popular subject with philematologists, those scientific folks who study – of all things – kissing.

Our reasons for kissing are many, say the scientists, but most important is the role our sense of taste and smell play in the kissing process. Both the lips and tongue are saturated with nerve endings that heighten the sensation of being in love that comes with a kiss.

Smell is important, too, because it’s how we sniff out the right partner. How a person smells when we kiss is often the most important deciding factor in determining if you will ever get  – or want – to kiss the same person again.

Bad breath is probably the biggest turn off during a passionate Valentine’s Day kiss. Bad breath smells so bad because of a variety of chemicals produced by bacteria that live in the oral cavity, particularly in the surface of the tongue. These chemicals include hydrogen sulfide, cadaverine and –  perhaps the most putrescent of all – good old putrescine.

Fortunately, keeping bad breath to a minimum is easy if you follow these six easy tips:

1. Saliva is nature’s mouthwash. A dry mouth is a smelly mouth. Make sure to drink plenty of water to keep the drool flowing. When your mouth makes less germ-killing saliva, germs flourish and your breath gets worse. So drink plenty of fluids to naturally clean your breath.

2. Take your time. Brush for 2 minutes with a soft nylon bristled toothbrush. Rinse for 90 seconds. The active ingredients in mouthwash and toothpaste need time to be effective. And, if you happen to use an alcohol based mouthwash, before you panic about how much rinsing for 90 seconds can burn…

3. Don’t use an alcohol based mouthwash that burns. Recent studies have associated all sorts of serious long term health problems with mouthwash that contains alcohol. A recent study published in the Dental Journal of Australia said alcohol based mouthwashes “can cause oral cancer and should be removed from supermarket shelves.” While testing in the US has not been as conclusive, one thing we do know is that alcohol in mouthwash definitely reduces saliva production. If you refer to tip #1 you will know this is bad. Less saliva means more halitosis. Look for oral rinse that is alcohol free and uses methods like oxygenation to kill germs without serious side effects, like TheraBreath or TheraBreath PLUS.

4. Make sure to floss every day. The stuff in between your teeth smells very unpleasant. Don’t believe me? Go grab some floss, use it between a couple of your front teeth, then smell it. Go ahead – I will wait…
If you haven’t been flossing regularly I am sure you will agree that it is not an extremely pleasant smell. Oral bacteria create smelly odors by breaking down proteins in food particles – the stuff in between your teeth is like a gourmet feast for germs. Make sure you floss between every tooth and then vigorously rinse with a good oral rinse to wash all that gunk out.

5. Brush your tongue. With your toothbrush. Doing it with your hairbrush is gross. Germs live in the crevices of your tongue. The white or yellow coating that sometimes forms on your there is their collected waste. That bacteria waste is sulfurous and extremely stinky. Brush that stuff off before it makes your mouth extremely unpleasant to be around.

6. Skip sugary mints. They can cover bad breath for a few minutes but ultimately just feed the germs that produce odor. If you want a little breath pick me up try gum with Xylitol (like TheraBreath French Kiss Gum). Gum tends to increase saliva flow and the chewing can help to clean between teeth.

Follow these steps diligently for the next few days and your mouth should be in absolutely top-notch kissing shape kissing shape by February 14th. Make your Valentine’s Day Kiss the best one ever!

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