We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Cryptic Tonsillitis?

Niki Acker
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Cryptic tonsillitis is a medical condition in which calcareous deposits, made of calcium carbonate, form and harden in the crevasses, or crypts, of the palatine tonsils located at the back of the throat. These deposits, called tonsilloliths, tonsil stones, or zots, can cause discomfort, sore throat, and halitosis, or bad breath. If small, however, they are often asymptomatic.

Cryptic tonsillitis affects children more than adults, but it is a common ailment in general. Tonsilloliths are hard and white or yellow in appearance. They can be caused by dead white blood cells, bacteria of fungi, food particles, excess saliva or mucous, or smoking without a filter. They are usually diagnosed through inspection, sometimes through imaging techniques such as x-ray or computed tomography (CT) scans.

While cryptic tonsillitis often goes unnoticed, it can cause symptoms including a metallic or foul taste in the back of the throat, halitosis, frequent coughing, choking or difficulty swallowing, pain in the ear, and infection. A 2007 medical study found that 75% of subjects suffering from halitosis, but only 6% of those with normal breath, had cryptic tonsillitis. In rare cases, giant tonsilloliths reaching a full centimeter in diameter can form.

There are various treatments for this condition, depending on its severity. Tonsil stones can often be removed with the tongue or by tensing the throat or stimulating the gag reflex, causing the tonsils to tense and expel the stone. Drinking a lot of water or club soda, regular tooth brushing, and gargling with mouthwash can also help loosen and dislodge tonsil stones. If small stones form deep within the tonsils, they are difficult to dislodge, but most of these do not cause serious symptoms, and work their way to the surface eventually.

In severe cases, cryptic tonsillitis may be treated by surgical removal of the tonsil stone with an oral curette, a thin scraping tool. Laser resurfacing, in which the surfaces of the tonsils are smoothed to remove the crypts, is an option for chronic cryptic tonsillitis. The most aggressive treatment, used only as a last resort, is tonsillectomy, or surgical removal of the tonsils. Tonsillectomy can weaken a person's immune system, so it is avoided whenever possible.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Niki Acker
By Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a The Health Board editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of interesting and unusual topics to gather ideas for her own articles. A graduate of UCLA with a double major in Linguistics and Anthropology, Niki's diverse academic background and curiosity make her well-suited to create engaging content for WiseGeekreaders. "
Discussion Comments
By anon993910 — On Dec 29, 2015

I've had that stuff for about 16 years. What are the white things, some sort of infection? I got them after I went to the doctor and had a long term sinus infection and he gave me antibiotics- I'm assuming that was the source of this whole thing!

Too bad I didn't just not take the antibiotics, because when I eventually changed my diet via the Weston a price diet, my chronic sinus infection disappeared in a few months, but these spots are still there.

Niki Acker
Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a The Health Board editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range...
Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.