White Bear Smiles

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What do tonsils and adenoids do?

During childhood, tonsils and adenoids work as part of the body's immune system. They filter out germs that try to get into the body and they help develop antibodies to germs. The tonsils are two masses of tissue on the back of the throat. The adenoids are high in the throat behind the nose and roof of the mouth. Adenoids are not visible without the use of special instruments.

Tonsils and adenoids are less useful as a person grows older. People who have them removed as children suffer no loss in their resistance to disease when they get older. The most common problem with the tonsils and the adenoids is recurring infection and significant enlargement that can cause difficulty with swallowing or breathing. In turn, that difficulty can cause snoring and restless sleep. Some orthodontists believe that chronic mouth breathing caused by enlarged tonsils and or adenoids can cause malformation of the face and improper alignment of teeth.

Since the tonsils are visible at the back of the throat, your dentist may be the first person to notice any irregularity in their appearance.