Removing tonsil stones can be satisfying, & that's why those videos are so popular

So, tonsil stone removal videos are super-trendy right now, did you know? While pimple-popping videos have been all the rage for a while now, it turns out that bursting skin craters isn’t the only thing that’s worth tons of views. Let’s take a look at tonsil stones to see if we can figure out why anyone would enjoy watching someone dig a stone out of a tonsil.

Tonsil stone basics

Dr. Benjamin Tweel, otolaryngologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, was on hand for some basic information on these nubby little jewels that like to hide in the craters of our tonsils. Unfortunately, they’re not really jewels (nor are they actually made of rock) and they’re kind of gross when you get to the nitty-gritty of how they came to be in the first place.

“Tonsil stones, or tonsilliths, are collections of debris, mucus, skin and bacteria which form in deep pockets (or crypts) within the tonsil,” he tells SheKnows. If that sounds disgusting, it’s no wonder people want to get rid of them.

Tweel mentions that sometimes, tonsil stones cause no symptoms at all (and aren’t noticed until they are, ahem, expelled), but he does note that some of us may be more prone to developing them than others. “They are associated with large tonsils and with chronic tonsillitis, but patients may have no other tonsil problems aside from the stones,” he says.

However, some people can and do notice the presence of tonsil stones. Tweel describes it as a “foreign body sensation in the throat, often described as feeling like a piece of food became stuck.” Sadly, when they do come out, he explains that they’re usually white or light yellow — and foul smelling.

Tonsil stone removal

Understandably, when tonsil stones are noticed or felt, people want them gone. While Tweel says that tonsil stones are generally not harmful and rarely become large, they can lead to bad breath, that above-mentioned foreign body sensation or even chronic infections.

Happily, tonsil stone removal can be a total DIY experience right in the comfort of your own home, Tweel says, as long as you’re very careful to avoid scratching or otherwise injuring your tonsil. He says some people find success by gargling salt water, but using a cotton swab or a water pick is generally more effective.

This is where tonsil stone removal videos might come in handy. Lisa from North Carolina tells SheKnows that she is getting to be a pro at removing her own tonsil stones and has watched videos on the subject to get a better idea of how to do it. She also still enjoys watching them when she has no stone to remove.

“I find it very satisfying personally when I am able to finally remove it (or them),” she explains. “So when I watch those videos, I can feel the same way. Like successfully finishing a race.” What’s not to love?

Do you need to see a doctor?

Not everyone is comfortable removing their own tonsil stones, which is understandable. According to PubMed Health, tonsils are located pretty far back in your mouth, almost to your throat, and you can trigger a gag reflex if you’re not careful, which isn’t very much fun.

For those who aren’t comfortable doing it themselves, Tweel says that particularly bothersome tonsil stones can often be removed by an ear, nose and throat physician right there in in the office. And sometimes, greater measures need to be taken. “For patients who are very symptomatic from their tonsil stones, tonsillectomy is sometimes performed as an elective surgery,” he says.

So, whether you have personal experience removing tonsil stones or not, you might find tonsil stone removal videos deeply satisfying — or not! Until then, rest assured that most tonsil stones aren’t harmful, and Tweel says that as you grow older, you’ll be less likely to experience them, so you have that to look forward to as the years go by.

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