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Tonsillectomy Might Be Worth It for Some Adults

Finnish study found fewer sore throats after surgery, less time lost from work or school
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Of those who had a tonsillectomy, 4 percent saw a doctor for a sore throat compared with 43 percent who didn't have the procedure. In addition, 80 percent of patients who didn't have their tonsils out had an acute sore throat compared with 39 percent who had had tonsillectomies, the researchers noted.

"Tonsillectomy resulted in fewer symptoms of pharyngitis, consequently decreasing the number of medical visits and days absent from school or work. For this reason, surgery may benefit some patients," Koskenkorva said.

During the six-month follow-up period, people who had tonsillectomy had a lower overall rate of sore throats and significantly fewer days with throat pain, fever, cold or cough than participants who didn't undergo the procedure, the study found.

However, the surgery prevented mostly mild sore throats, which were most likely caused by a virus, Koskenkorva said. So before having the surgery, which is done under general anesthesia, patients and their doctors should consider complications and whether the benefits outweigh the risk of the operation, he suggested.

One risk of tonsillectomy is bleeding. Dahl, the New York specialist, said that adults, because their tonsils tend to be very infected, can bleed more. "It's just a little bit of a bloodier surgery," she explained.

"There are less painful and less risky ways of doing the surgery now," she added. These include shaving away the tonsils and laser procedures.

The recovery from traditional surgery can cause pain and difficulty swallowing for up to 10 days. Dahl said one patient told her "it's worse than childbirth without anesthesia." Recovery from other methods is shorter and less painful, she noted.

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

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American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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