Finding white lumps in the throat can be a scary experience, particularly taking into account the various possible diagnoses. White throat lumps can be the result of stress or a sore throat, or even a yeast infection known as "thrush," which leaves white patches on the mouth and tongue. However, for most people with white spots in the back of the mouth, the likely culprits are tonsil stones.
The small, white stones are often found at the rear of the mouth, on the tongue, and on the tonsils themselves. They are accumulations of sulfur-based bacteria or debris that has become lodged in the pockets of the tonsils. Usually visible by the naked eye, these white lumps in the throat are typically foul-smelling and irregularly shaped.
Although they do not usually cause any physical harm to a person, tonsil stones can be irritating and painful, sometimes causing earaches, stomachaches, headaches, and difficulty swallowing. Bad breath, coughing, and excess phlegm are all additional symptoms of white lumps in the throat and tonsil stones.
Although they can be irritating for the person who has them, tonsil stones can often times be easily removed from the mouth, tongue, or throat with a variety of home remedies, which include gently expressing or popping them with a Q-tip, brushing over them carefully with a toothbrush, or using pulsating jets of water to wash them away and out of tonsil pockets.
However, in some more serious cases a person may be diagnosed with tonsillitis and the removal of the tonsils themselves is necessary. Removing the tonsils is a relatively routine procedure in which a physician numbs the area of the throat and mouth with a local anesthetic and completely removes the tonsils and any stones or spots that may be on them.
Even if total removal of the tonsils is not necessary, if you have large tonsil stones or stones that have become lodged in places that are difficult or dangerous to reach on your own, they will likely have to be removed by a physician in order to rid you of white lumps in the throat completely.