White Spots on Tonsils

What are White Spots on Tonsils?

Tonsils are located in the back of the throat can be seen easily if one faces a mirror and opens their mouth wide and sticks their tongue out. A variety of illnesses can cause the tonsils to have white spots amongst other accompanying symptoms. Typical causes of white spots on tonsils are listed below. 1

White Spots on Tonsils


Tonsillitis can cause white spots on the tonsils and is itself caused by inflammation of the tonsils either caused by a bacterial or viral infection. White spots usually contain pus.

Tonsil stones are usually made up of fragments of food particles, bacteria, mucus and dead cells. They appear as white spots on the tonsils. There are cells in the tonsils that fight off infections but can become infected if the tonsil stones are trapped.

Strep throat and pharyngitis are two different but similar conditions that can cause white spots on the tonsils. Strep throat is much more dangerous than pharyngitis as it is caused by strep bacteria while pharyngitis is caused by a viral infection.

Mononucleosis also known as the kissing disease is a viral infection that has been known to cause white spots on the tonsils.

Oral thrush is a fungal infection caused by Candida albicans a form of yeast that is found in the human body. When the levels of the yeast rise above the normal levels usually found in the body, the resulting imbalance causes a yeast infection that causes white spots on the tonsils.

Diphtheria is an immunizable respiratory infection usually caused by bacteria and it affects children above the age of five. It normally affects the nostrils and throat but can cause white spots on the tonsils. Tonsils may appear to have a grayish white layer if not white patches.

Some STD’s can cause white spots on the tonsils. These include HIV, Chlamydia, herpes simplex virus and gonorrhea.

Smoking pre-disposes on to leukoplakia, a pre-cancerous condition that can lead to oral cancer. Early symptoms of leukoplakia include white spots on the tonsils, mouth and tongue.1,3


  • White discoloration can occur only on the tonsils or throughout the mouth and tongue. White discoloration may look like blotches on tonsils or streaks on the back of the throat.
  • Dry throat.
  • Difficulty swallowing.1,2


White spots on the tonsils can be caused by man conditions and it is critical for the doctor to establish the underlying cause before starting treatment.

  • The doctor finds out when the white spots on the tonsils first appeared and inquires about any other symptoms.
  • A physical examination is carried out to investigate some symptoms like swollen lymph nodes.
  • A swab may be passed over the tonsils to gain a sample that the doctor can test for specific pathogens that are known to cause white spots on tonsils.

Symptoms accompanying can be used to diagnose white spots on the tonsils as follows

  • Tonsillitis causes white spots on the tonsils together with fever, swallowing difficulty
  • Tonsil stones are accompanied by general discomfort around the throat, earaches and bad breath.
  • White spots on the tonsils are caused by strep throat if the patient also suffers these symptoms: fever, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting and chills.
  • Mononucleosis also cause the following symptoms headache, severe sore throat, fever, swollen tonsils and persistent tiredness.
  • Oral thrush causes white spots to appear not only on the tonsils bit also the cheeks and tongue. The sense of taste maybe altered.
  • Diphtheria also cause fever, difficulty breathing, swollen lymph nodes and difficulty swallowing.
  • When white spots on the tonsils are caused by an STD on is likely to suffer these symptoms as well: mouth sores, swollen gums, fever, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat and swollen uvula.


  • If tonsillitis is caused by a bacterial infection, the doctor prescribes antibiotics. If the infection recurs then the doctor might remove the tonsils.
  • Tonsil stones don’t typically require treatment but if they cause discomfort the doctor may remove the tonsils.
  • Strep throat is treated using a prescription of antibiotics and painkillers to manage the pain. Pharyngitis is usually clears off on its own but can be treated by gargling with salt water.
  • Oral thrush is treated by a prescription of antifungal medication and pain killers to ease any other discomforting symptoms.
  • Probiotics can be used to fight the pathogens whether fungi or bacteria.
  • Tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of the tonsils and is prescribed to patients suffering severe and recurring bouts of tonsillitis.1,5


Although white spots on the tonsils can be caused by a variety of conditions, there a recommended ways to avoid this occurrence.

  • Avoid extremely sweet and cold foods that can trigger a bacterial bout of tonsillitis.
  • Good oral hygiene generally reduces the population of bacteria, viruses and fungi around the tonsils that cause various infections.
  • Positive lifestyle choices like avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol consumption and making healthy sexual choices.1

Home Remedies

  • Use a humidifier to prevent your throat from drying.
  • One teaspoon of cayenne pepper should be mixed with half a cup of coconut oil and applied to the skin on your throat and the lymph nodes on the neck. Capsaicin is the strong active microbial agent in cayenne pepper that cures white spots on the tonsils.
  • Mix one teaspoon of sea salt in a warm water and gargle severally in a day to reduce inflammation and white spots on the tonsils caused by tonsillitis.
  • Put one teaspoon of dried Echinacea in hot water and let it steep for a few minutes. Once it has cooled add lemon and honey to boost the medicinal properties and drink at least thrice a day. Echinacea tea gets rid of tonsillitis and the white spots on the tonsils while still boosting the overall immune system.
  • White spots on tonsils caused by oral thrush can be cured by coconut oil. Mix two drops of cinnamon or clove oil with a tablespoon of coconut oil (virgin) and swish this mixture in your mouth without swallowing. Spit out the mixture and rinse your mouth with warm water then brush your teeth.1,3


  • If strep throat is left untreated, the bacteria spreads and enter the bloodstream making the disease progressively worse and at times deadly.

Reference List

  1. White Spots on Tonsils: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options. Bel Marra Health – https://belmarrahealth.com/white-spots-on-tonsils-causes-symptoms-and-treatment-options/
  2. What Leads to White Spots on the Tonsils. Healthline -https://healthline.com/health/white-spots-on-tonsils
  3. White Spots on Tonsils: 7 common Causes and Effective Treatments. Healthy and Natural World – Https://healthyandnaturalworld.com/white-spots-on-tonsils/
  4. White Spots on Tonsils: Causes and Treatments. Wow Remedies – https://wowremedies.com/whites-spots-on-tonsils/
  5. White Spots on Tonsils. MD Health – https://md-health.com/white-spots-on-tonsils.html

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