Tonsil stones are unpleasant. But can you use a water flosser for tonsil stones removal at home, or do you really need to see the dentist?
Tonsils, which are located in the back of your throat, are a vital part of your body’s lymphatic and immune systems. It gets uncomfortable, though, if small stones called tonsil stones develop there. Even though they often cause no symptoms, they might have some effects like bad breath.
In your search for a solution, you may have heard talk about using a Waterpik for tonsil stones. A Waterpik can remove tonsil stones, but there are some things you should know before you give it a try.
Best water flossers for tonsil stones
#1 - Best Waterpik for tonsil stones
"It cleans them out for her with no problems. Very quick and easy." - Amazon customer
Waterpik WP-660 Aquarius
#2 - Best water flosser for tonsil stones
"Husband wanted this for tonsil stones and said it has helped with that" - Amazon customer
H2ofloss HF-9 Whisper
Table of contents
- 1 What are tonsil stones?
- 2 Best water flossers for tonsil stones removal
- 3 What Waterpiks to stay away from when removing tonsil stones
- 4 How to remove tonsil stones with a Waterpik water flosser
- 5 Is it safe to use a Waterpik for tonsil stones removal?
- 6 What do dental professionals say about using a Waterpik for tonsil stones removal?
- 7 Youtube video on how to remove tonsil stones with a Waterpik
- 8 When to see a doctor
- 9 Preventing tonsil stones
- 10 Conclusion
- 11 FAQ
What are tonsil stones?
Tonsil stones, often referred to as tonsilloliths, are just an accumulation of germs, food, debris, and other things in the cavities around your tonsils.
Causes of tonsil stone formation can be related to the following:
- Sinus concerns from increased mucus and build-up
- Chronically inflamed palatine tonsils (tonsilitis)
- Naturally large tonsillar tissue that contribute to debris build-up
- Poor oral hygiene which also contributes to plaque build-up
They will accumulate similarly to how plaque may if your tonsils aren't kept clean. Once you are aware of their presence, they may be quite unpleasant and even distracting. But the good news is that they don't cause serious damage and getting your tonsil stones removed is quite easy.
If you can't see your tonsils from the angle in the mirror, you can snap a photo of them using the rear camera on your phone with a flash. Although smaller tonsil stones are harder to locate, they might cause the following symptoms:
- Throat discomfort
- Bad breath
- Enlarged tonsils
- Swallowing issues
- Ear pain in some cases
As you can see, these symptoms are somewhat imprecise, and having just one or two might indicate the presence of an entirely separate disease. Therefore, if you have any of these symptoms, be careful and investigate more.
Best water flossers for tonsil stones removal
Here we'll discuss some Waterpiks which have been proven to be a good water flosser for tonsil stone removal.
Waterpik Aquarius WP-660
The Waterpik Aquarius WP-660 is known for its great performance and its recommendations from dental professionals.
We recommend this Waterpik for removing tonsil stones for these reasons:
- You have 10 pressure settings, starting with a very low pressure of just 10 PSI
- It comes with a special “pik pocket tip”, which can be beneficial for flushing out tonsil stones.
- This Waterpik gives you 90 seconds of flossing time, so you can focus on getting the tonsil stones flushed out.
Here are a few customer reviews, from people who had success flushing out tonsil stones using the Waterpik Aquarius:
This also works wonders for dislodging tonsil stones, just remember to put the setting no higher than 2 or 3 and test the pressure first before aiming it in the back of your throat in the crypts of your tonsils.Amazon customer
My wife gets tonsil stones from time to time, and it cleans them out for her with no problems. Very quick and easy.Amazon customer
H2ofloss HF-9 Whisper
Another great water flosser we can recommend for tonsil stones removal is the H2ofloss HF-9 Whisper. This is because it has a super-soft mode, starting from just 5 PSI. It also comes with 12 multifunctional tips.
You will most likely find a tip that fits your needs. It's not a Waterpik, but it can be a good option for a smaller budget.
I know it is definitely doing its job of flossing, and I use it to help break tonsil stones out of the back of my throat.Amazon customer
Husband wanted this for tonsil stones and said it has helped with that. I wanted this for my teeth and it makes me feel fresh from the dentist!Amazon customer
What Waterpiks to stay away from when removing tonsil stones
If you are looking for a Waterpik for tonsil stone removal, you should look for one that has a low-pressure setting. But, be careful, even the lowest setting of most water flossers might still be too strong for most people.
While you find good success stories of customers using the Waterpik Aquarius WP-660 for flushing out tonsil stones, you don't find good reviews for the Waterpik Cordless Advanced Water Flosser. Here's what some customers are writing about their attempt to remove tonsil stones:
Low setting is still too strong for cleaning tonsils! I bought this to clean my tonsils and stay clear of tonsil stones, but even at the low setting, this is still too strong. I know this is made specifically for teeth, but maybe a dial setting instead of buttons would allow for more pressure adjustability. I had the corded one, and at the lowest setting it was mild enough to not make my tonsils bleed when I cleaned them. If you need this to clean your tonsils, this is too rough.Amazon customer
The Waterpik Cordless Advanced Water Flosser is a great portable device. But if you're looking for a water flosser for tonsil stones removal, you should look for a device with a low-pressure setting below 20 or 30 PSI.
You might find cheaper water flossers on Amazon that have a low water pressure setting. However, if you're looking for a high-quality Waterpik for tonsil stones, we can only recommend the Waterpik Aquarius WP-660, which you can read a full review of here.
And if you're looking for a cheaper option, we can recommend the H2ofloss HF-9-Whisper.
How to remove tonsil stones with a Waterpik water flosser
It sounds like it may not be the best option, but instead, when used carefully it could work in some cases. Here are eight simple steps on how to use a Waterpik to remove tonsil stones.
- To see your tonsils and the stones you want to have removed as clearly as possible, try to put up a light and mirror.
- Fill up the water tank with lukewarm water, and if you want to, you might add 1-2 tablespoons of salt.
- Put the flosser's nozzle in your mouth and direct it toward your tonsils. Make sure the pressure is on low before turning the flosser on.
- By directing the water jet upward, downward, and all around the afflicted region, start cleaning your tonsils.
- The warm water will assist to loosen the germs in the cracks if you continue doing this for 10 to 30 seconds. At some point, the first stones should start to come out.
- Increase the pressure or force of the flosser gradually to aid in removing any remaining stones.
- To get rid of them entirely, you may need to refill the tank and carry out the procedure again.
- After the tonsil stones have been removed, gargle with mouthwash to assist in cleaning and get rid of the dirt and bacteria that is still there.
Keep in mind that everyone has a different level of success with this method.
Is it safe to use a Waterpik for tonsil stones removal?
The main purpose of oral irrigators, like those made by Waterpik, is interdental cleaning, which involves removing plaque and other debris from the spaces between teeth and from the gumline.
However, you may be wondering if a water flosser can also be used to remove tonsil stones.
You can use a Waterpik to remove tonsil stones, but make sure to use it on the lowest setting. The Waterpik may cause discomfort and bleeding if the water pressure is too high.
If you place the water flosser too near the soft tissue in the back of your throat, you might cause harm. Even on its lowest setting, though, some Waterpiks may still be way too powerful to be used on the tonsil's delicate tissue.
This can further irritate them or cause inflammation. If your tonsils are inflamed, they are more likely to trap more food particles and other debris.
What do dental professionals say about using a Waterpik for tonsil stones removal?
When searching for advice for using a water flosser for tonsil stone removal, you’ll find mixed opinions. Here’s what Dr. James Wright, with 34 years of experience in dentistry says about using a Waterpik for tonsil stones:
No: I would not recommend it as you could hurt yourself. Sometimes the stones can become embedded. I would recommend an ear, nose & throat doctor to examine you. They can remove it and then work with you on preventing future stones.Dr. James Wright, healthtap.com
While Dr. James Wright doesn’t recommend using a Waterpik to attempt tonsil stones removal, other doctors are positive about it. One of them is Dr. David Martin. He has 29 years of experience in Head & Neck Surgery. Here’s what he says:
Tonsil stones, or tonsilloliths, are easily removed with a Waterpik. I have patients use this at bedtime, to clear all food from the tonsils, which is what causes them.Dr. David Martin, healthtap.com
And here is what Dr. Yash Khanna says about using a water flosser for removing tonsil stones:
Yes it is safe and works sometimes but you have to be careful and not use high pressure as it can cause rupture of the tonsils. Use low pressure and if it is painful do not do it.Dr. Yash Khanna, Family Medicine 58 years of experience, healthtap.com
Before attempting to remove tonsil stones with an oral irrigator or Waterpik, you should consult with your healthcare provider. Large tonsil stones may require surgical intervention and treatment with an Ear Nose and Throat specialist (otolaryngologist).
Using a Waterpik for tonsil stone removal can results in the following:
- Wretching or vomiting
- Increase in tonsillar tissue scarring
Waterpik may not be successful in removing all stones as location and size may play a factor.
Youtube video on how to remove tonsil stones with a Waterpik
When to see a doctor
If you're unable to remove a tonsil stone with a water flosser or another home remedy, you should not try to push the stone out with a sharp object (such as toothpicks or pens), as this can cause bleeding.
Speak with a doctor if a tonsil stone lasts for many weeks, or if you have symptoms you believe are related to tonsilloliths. You should also contact a doctor if you are able to remove a tonsil stone but continue to have discomfort, breathing difficulty, or bad breath.
Other treatments for tonsilloliths may include:
- Surgical removal: Your doctor may remove your tonsil stones if they are exceptionally big or giving you trouble.
- Cryptolysis: This procedure scars your tonsils using a laser or radiofrequency tool, reducing the likelihood of tonsil stones.
- Tonsillectomy: Your tonsils may need to be removed if tonsil stones persist over time.
Preventing tonsil stones
Reduce your risks of getting tonsil stones with:
- Good oral hygiene, with frequent brushing and proper technique
- Frequent rinsing with warm salt water rinses during sore throat or symptomatic episodes. Use of alcohol-free mouthwashes to prevent excessive drying out of soft tissue.
- Regular cleaning of the tongue to lessen bacteria and debris accumulation in the tonsillar tissue
- Routine oral health checkups for assessment of your mouth and pharyngeal tissue of the throat.
Waterpiks or other water flossers can be a good approach to get rid of tonsil stones. You should be very cautious, though, as a high-pressure water stream can be harmful to the tonsil's delicate tissue.
We recommend the Waterpik Aquarius WP-660 for removing tonsil stones because this device has a low-pressure setting of just 10 PSI. Furthermore, it’s a powerful device with a large reservoir to assist you in your everyday dental hygiene regimen for preventing tonsil stones in the future.
Everyone's conditions are different, though, and if you didn't have success removing your tonsil stones with a Waterpik, make sure to consult a doctor.
Is a water flosser good for tonsil stones?
Yes, a water flosser can be helpful in removing small tonsil stones. But start with a very low water pressure setting. High water pressure can be dangerous for your tonsils' delicate tissue.
Does a Waterpik remove tonsil stones?
Yes, a Waterpik in general is beneficial in removing tonsil stones. But begin by setting the water pressure extremely low. The sensitive tissue in your tonsils may be at risk from high water pressure.
Which Waterpik is best for tonsil stones?
Choose a Waterpik that has a low water pressure setting. We recommend the Waterpik Aquarius WP-660 as it has 10 levels, the lowest setting starting at just 10 PSI.
Can you use a Waterpik for tonsil stones?
Yes, a Waterpik can be helpful when it comes to removing tonsil stones. However, each person's condition is different, and you might want to consult a doctor for the best-recommended treatment.
Healthtap.com: Is it safe to use Waterpik for tonsil stone removal?. Consulted 2nd July 2022
Researchgate.net: Tonsillolith: Not Just a Stone But a Living Biofilm. Consulted 2nd July 2022
Livescience.com: What are Tonsil Stones? Causes, symptoms and treatments. Consulted 2nd July 2022