Health : their protective role against various infections
Palatine tonsil: definition, role and explanations. The palatine tonsils are located at the back of the throat. One of the tonsils is located on the left side of the throat and the other is located on the right side. The tonsils play a role in protecting the body from respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.
Thanks to the tonsils, we fight against infections that could go down to the lungs, stomach or intestines
Each tonsil is made up of a network of crypts (pits) that store cells used to fight infection. The tonsils contain B cells, a type of white blood cell that fights infections. They also produce antibodies against polio, streptococcal pneumonia, the flu and many other infections.
Antibodies are proteins that help the body identify and attack harmful invaders. The tonsils also contain several types of T cells, which are white blood cells that destroy cells infected with viruses and help the body develop immunity against infectious organisms.
Tonsillitis against tonsillitis
Tonsillitis occurs when bacterial or viral organisms cause inflammation of the tonsil tissue. This causes fever, difficulty swallowing, sore throat, ear pain, loss of voice and throat tenderness. Recurrent tonsillitis sometimes leads to the need for a tonsillectomy. During this procedure, a surgeon removes the palatine tonsil tissue. This can reduce the frequency of new infections.
Why are there holes in my tonsils?
The tonsils are the oval shaped organs located at the back of the throat. They help protect the body from microbial infections. Holes in the tonsils, or tonsil crypts, are normal from an anatomical point of view. They give your immune system a first idea of what your body is ingesting through the mouth. Sometimes the tonsils can swell and the crypts can become blocked due to inflammation or scarring.
Causes and symptoms of inflamed holes in the tonsils
Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils. It is most often caused by viral infections. Bacterial infections can also be the culprit. This condition is particularly common in school-aged children and those who work with them.
Additional symptoms of tonsillitis may include:
- red swollen tonsils
- white or yellow spots on the tonsils
- sore throat
- painful swallowing
- enlarged lymph nodes
- bad breath
- stomach ache
Often called "kissing disease", mononucleosis or mono is a virus transmitted by saliva. This condition can cause your tonsils to swell and cause obstruction of the tonsil crypts.
Symptoms of mononucleosis include:
- sore throat
- itchy skin
- tender and swollen spleen
It can take several weeks to recover from mononucleosis.
Strep throat is a highly contagious infection caused by a streptococcus bacteria. It is very common in school-aged children. Strep throat should be treated as soon as possible to avoid complications such as kidney inflammation or rheumatic fever.
The telltale symptom that sends most people to the doctor is relentless itchy sore throat, which often manifests quickly. Some people will have swollen tonsils that are red, with white spots or streaks of pus on them.
Other symptoms include:
- tiny red spots on the back of the roof of the mouth
- swollen lymph nodes
Poor oral hygiene
Poor oral hygiene can provide a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause infections and tonsillitis. If you are not doing well enough to keep your mouth clean and free from harmful bacteria, your tonsil crypts may fill up with bacteria more frequently. This can cause swelling, inflammation, and infection of the tonsils.
Other signs of poor oral hygiene often include frequent bad breath, plaque buildup or coating on the tongue or teeth, and recurrent cavities.
Brush your teeth and use dental floss at least twice a day and use mouthwash to keep your mouth clean.
The tonsil crypts (or tonsilloliths) occur when debris is trapped in the pits of the tonsils and turns into a white substance, called casum (caseus = cheese). These crypts can grow. They can also cause additional infection in the tonsils, which worsens holes in the tonsils.
Other symptoms of tonsil stones can include:
- bad breath
- ear pain
- difficulty swallowing
- persistent cough
- white or yellow debris on the tonsil
Smoking and vaping wear down your immune system while simultaneously causing inflammation. This makes you vulnerable to bacterial and fungal infections, as well as inflammation of the tonsils.
Smoking is also linked to the tonsils, which can make the holes in your tonsils bigger and more problematic.
Mouth and tonsil cancer
Oral cancer that spreads to the tonsils and cancer of the tonsils can both be associated with holes in the tonsils. Sometimes cancer is caught because it causes a sore in the back of the mouth that does not heal.
Other symptoms of mouth and tonsil cancer include:
- one tonsil being larger than the other
- blood in saliva
- persistent sore throat
- mouth pain
- severe ear pain
- bump in the neck
- pain when swallowing
- bad breath
How are inflamed holes in the tonsils treated?
To prevent holes in the tonsils from getting infected, here are a few things you can do:
- Gargle with salt water, which can reduce inflammation and reduce discomfort.
- Practice good oral hygiene. Good hygiene will help prevent infection and may prevent the formation of additional holes.
- Stop smoking immediately. If you smoke or use any type of tobacco product, stop as soon as possible.
- Use a mouthwash. Mouthwash can help reduce infections.
If your tonsils are infected, treatment will depend on the cause of the infection. Some infections may not require treatment unless they cause other problems.
Certain conditions require treatment, including:
- Strep throat. This condition is treated with antibiotics.
- Mononucleosis. You will need to rest a lot and drink lots of water if you have this condition.
- Oral cancer. Doctors usually treat this condition with a combination of surgery (to remove the cancer), chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
- Casein. You can treat the tonsil crypts with salt water that you can gargle. If that doesn't work, your doctor can remove them using lasers or sound waves.
If holes in the tonsils or their side effects – including crypts or infection – become too common, your doctor may recommend surgical removal. It's not as common as it used to be, but it still has a short recovery time of about a week.