White Stuff in the Back of Throat – What do I do?


In spite of practicing normal oral hygiene, many people experience offensive odor and white chucks in back of the throat, which at times, can be painful too. These white chucks occur in tonsils and appear repeatedly. These white chucks are known as tonsilloliths or tonsil stones. People suffering from this disease do not complain because of lack of awareness. They consider these white chucks nothing but dregs of last meal. Another reason of not complaining is being embarrassed due to the foul smell.

Tonsilloiths are mainly known as tonsil stones. In our body, tonsils play a prominent role destroying harmful bacteria but sometimes tonsils trap food and dead cells. These tonsil stones are stinky dead cells forms in the small pockets of tonsils. When these  dead cell become hard, they turn into white or yellow color and smell bad. This foul odor is caused by sulfur producing bacteria which feeds on tonsil stones which are gathered in crypts and is a combination of hydrogen sulfide.

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Tonsil stones are very much common in both children and adults. But it is found that it occurs rare in children and is very much common in young adults. Although these tonsilloliths are harmless but have troubling symptoms. It has also been noticed that tonsil stone occurs only to 10% of the population.

Symptoms and signs of Tonsil Stones


Bad breath (halitosis)

Ear pain

Difficulty in swallowing

Pain in swallowing

Cough fits

White spots on tonsils

Swollen tonsils

Sensation that something hard is stuck in back of the throat

These symptoms are definitely unpleasant but they are not life threatening and they do not have adverse effect on overall health. Apart from tonsilloliths, there are many other reasons for the white stuff in the back throat, such as-

Peritonsillar abscess- This is a condition that occurs when acute tonsillitis are left untreated and pus is formed in tonsils. At this stage, the patient also suffers from fever, severe throat pain with foul smell.

Post nasal drip- Many studies have proved that there is a correlation between tonsilloliths and post nasal drip, they both have bad smell, whitish or yellowish mucus in the back of the throat along with cough.

Thrush- These are fungal mouth infections in which the patient suffers from white deposit in tongue, gums, and inner cheeks and in tonsils due to this patient has pain and lose the sense of taste.

It is very much evident that tonsil stones are harmless for health but they are very much embarrassing and uncomfortable. Many patients wonder how to treat them. There are many treatments for tonsilloliths depending upon the size of these stones and severity.

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white stuff in back of throat

White Stuff in the Back of Throat – Treatment


Some of the treatments to remove and prevent these tonsil stones are as under –

Brush teeth and gargle after every meal- To get rid of tonsil stones, it is important to gargle and brush teeth as it can kill germs. This will ensure that mouth is free from foul odor and stuck food particles, making one feel fresh. Gargling must be done by using a glass of warm water with some salt in it to get good results.

Irrigate the tonsils-Tonsils should be washed by gentle oral irrigator. This should be done once a week to ensure that there are no particles stuck in the tonsils. With warm water the irrigator works the best and gives good results.

Antibiotics and oral probiotics- Antibiotics can be taken under medical supervision for the remedy of tonsil stones. Oral probiotics are another great option for preventing the growth of tonsil stones.

Using oxygenating mouth wash- These mouth wash helps in stopping the growth of further generating tonsil stone. They greatly help to kill the bacteria causing bad breath.

Tonsils removal- Many studies have shown that patients suffering from the acute or chronic tonsil stone have removed the tonsils by surgery.  This pretty much stalls the problem. However a doctor can only decide if surgery is required.

Although removing the tonsils is a option,  it is important to note that tonsils play an prominent role in the immune system to trap the bacteria and virus particles which passes through the throat.  Preventive measures should be taken to stop the growth of tonsil stone in future.  A patient suffering must not lose hope and should not discontinue taking these measures after one or two weeks, because the natural remedial measures may not give instant results in all cases. Over a period of time, say months; the  results will be seen. With continual proper oral health care and preventive measures, the patient will positively get rid of this tonsil stones forever.

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