Recognizing and dealing with tonsil stones

Pediatrician Alan Greene, MD, shares advice for parents on how to recognize and treat tonsil stones in children and what signs should alert parents to take their child to a doctor
How To Recognize And Deal With Tonsil Stones In Children
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Recognizing and dealing with tonsil stones

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The tonsils stand at the back of your throat as guardians of your child's body. They're there to trap any bacteria or virus or foreign matter that gets in to help your immune system respond to it. But sometimes what will happen is food bits or other things will get trapped in your tonsils, and they will grow over time. And then you end up with stones. They look like pearls almost. Sometimes they look like small dots and sometimes pretty large shiny spots in the tonsils in the back of the throat. When people see these, they're sometimes kind of alarmed. They can cause bad breath. They're usually not a health problem, but if they're big enough, they can be kind of painful. To prevent them, for somebody who's prone to them, either drinking right after you eat, and not eating within 30 minutes of that time, because when you fall asleep the saliva stop drops, that can help stop the formation. Once they're there, sometimes a water pic or even a tooth brush can help get them out. Sometimes an E&T doc can help get them out easily. The large ones though, happened once for my daughter, need to come out surgically. One of the most common ways for the tonsil stones to come out is just start coughing. When you cough, they'll spurt out of your mouth. You'll see these little white things and wonder what they are. Likely tonsil stones.

Pediatrician Alan Greene, MD, shares advice for parents on how to recognize and treat tonsil stones in children and what signs should alert parents to take their child to a doctor

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Alan Greene, MD

Founder, DrGreene.com

Dr. Alan Greene founded his website, DrGreene.com, in 1995, cited by the AMA as "the pioneer physician web site." In 2010 he founded the WhiteOut Now movement to change how babies are fed from their very first bite of solid food, and in 2012 he founded TICC TOCC – Transitioning Immediate Cord Clamping To Optimal Cord Clamping. He is an author of several books including Feeding Baby Green and appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, TODAY Show, Good Morning America, the Dr. Oz Show, and is a regular columnist for Parenting magazine. He is a practicing pediatrician and the father of four.

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