What Are Tonsils?
Your tonsils are gland-like structures in the back of your throat. You have one located in a pocket on each side. Tonsils are made of tissue that contains lymphocytes — cells in your body that prevent and fight infections. It is believed that the tonsils play a role in the immune system and are meant to function like nets, trapping incoming bacteria and virus particles that are passing through your throat.
Your tonsils are filled with nooks and crannies where bacteria and other materials, including dead cells and mucous, can become trapped. When this happens, the debris can become concentrated in white formations that occur in the pockets.
Tonsil stones, or tonsilloliths, are formed when this trapped debris hardens, or calcifies. This tends to happen most often in people who have chronic inflammation in their tonsils or repeated bouts of tonsillitis.
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