Tonsils are tissues situated at each side of the throat, and are part of the body’s immune system. The tonsils filter debris and bacteria from the body through the nose and mouth. Tonsils can get infected and inflamed, though, which leads to a condition called tonsillitis. While tonsillitis will usually subside naturally or with the help of antibiotics, chronic tonsillitis can produce pockets in the tonsils, which can trap food and other debris. These pores are called crypts, and therefore the condition is called cryptic tonsils or cryptic tonsillitis.
Cryptic tonsillitis is not a serious condition, although it can be quite uncomfortable and unpleasant. In many cases, a cryptic tonsil would produce bad breath, because of the bacteria and food particles trapped within. In some cases, the debris form into tonsil “stones,” which are called tonsilliths, mostly made up of trapped bacteria and food particles.
There are generally three ways to deal with cryptic tonsils, which include surgery, laser treatment, or alternative treatments to reduce the bad effects.
Tonsillectomy, or the process of removing tonsils, is usually a painful procedure that will take two weeks to completely heal. Because of this, surgery is considered the last resort in curing cryptic tonsils. However, if chronic tonsillitis is a problem, then surgery is probably your best option.
Laser or somnoplasty
If surgery is too drastic a treatment for cryptic tonsils, then you can ask your doctor if it’s possible to do laser treatment or somnoplasty. Laser treatment will smoothen the surface of your tonsils, thereby removing the pockets. Somnoplasty will, meanwhile, involve the insertion of electrodes into your tonsils. These electrodes will emit energy waves, which will kill cells in the tonsil tissue. This shrinks the tonsils back into their normal size eventually.
If medical intervention seems too drastic at this time, you can try several home remedies that can at least help minimize the symptoms of cryptic tonsils.
- Antibiotics – Check with your doctor if you can take antibiotics to help reduce the inflammation of your tonsils. Antibiotics will also kill off bacteria lodged into the tonsil pockets.
- Saltwater – A saltwater gargle can help dislodge tonsil stones and can help prevent the formation of new ones. Use a solution of one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Gargle every hour until the stones are dislodged.
- Vinegar – You can also boil vinegar and set it aside to warm. Use it as a gargle, which can also help dislodge tonsil stones and prevent the formation of new ones.
- Manual removal – You can use a cotton swab to manually remove tonsil stones dislodged in pockets. This can be uncomfortable, though, and might cause a gag or swallowing reflex.
- Mouthwash – You can combine a mixture of ActivOxygen tablets dissolved in water (meant for halitosis) and nasal drops. Gargle with the mixture once per hour.
- If bad breath is a concern, you can use products meant for halitosis, such as TheraBreath. These can help minimize bad breath, but will not necessarily dislodge the tonsil stones.
If the home remedies don’t work, get in touch with your doctor. He will be able to prescribe medication or treatment that can help cure or remove cryptic tonsils altogether.