New Health Guide

White Spots on Tonsils

Oct 10, 2014

When your tonsils have white patches or spots, it is an indication that the tonsils have accumulated pus. This is often accompanied by fever, painful swallowing and throat discomfort.

Causes of White Spots on Tonsils

1. Tonsil Stones

In tonsil stones, the nooks or crevices of your tonsils show the formation of hardened & white deposits of fragments that are made of bacteria, food particles, dead cells and mucus. Even though tonsils contain cells that fight infections and destroy any harmful microbe which sticks to the tissues, the trapped junk may solidify then get infected. This leads to tonsil stones. People who have been diagnosed with this condition have earaches and bad breath.

Tonsil stones treatment may not be necessary if the condition does not cause you any distress. However, if you have large tonsil stones, you may be left with no other option than to remove them surgically.

2. Tonsillitis

This is a condition that is characterized by inflammation of your tonsils and is accompanied by fever and swallowing difficulty. After examination of tonsillitis, it was discovered that there were white spots on the tonsils which meant that the tonsils have pus. The presence of the pus in your tonsils can mean that you have a bacterial or viral infection. Other symptoms accompanying this condition include headaches, stiff neck and fever.

If upon examination the tonsillitis is discovered to be as a result of bacteria, the doctor might recommend some antibiotics. Surgery (tonsillectomy) may also be recommended if the child has recurring tonsillitis.

3. Strep Throat

This is a condition that occurs when your throat is infected by bacteria. As a result, it may lead to the formation of white spots on your tonsils. When you have strep throat, you may experience severe pain whenever you swallow. Uneasiness is also triggered followed by an abnormal scratchy feeling on your throat. Other than having enlarged tonsils, your lymph nodes could also be swollen and your fever above 101 degrees.

When you suffer from strep throat, you should visit your doctor for recommended treatment. The doctor will recommend an antibiotic dosage as that is what is needed to deal with this condition.

4. Oral Thrush

This is a fungal infection that affects your mouth and can also be a cause of the white spots present on your tonsils. The fungus responsible for invasion of your mouth's lining causing oral thrush is known as Candida albicans or yeast. Even though these microbes are always there, they become harmful when their number increases past what is considered normal. White lesions are formed and are visible on the tongue and inner cheeks. In other cases, you may notice deposits with a cream-color. Your taste buds may also be altered in the process making it hard for you to enjoy any food taste.

If you have oral thrush, you can take homemade yoghurt (plain). Antifungal medicines are also prescribed by doctors to help in curing of the infection.

5. Mononucleosis

This is infection caused by a virus, and it causes headaches, fever and persistent tiredness. Adolescents are generally the ones infected by this virus, and they also experience severe sore-throat marked by pus-covered, swollen tonsils. The neck-area lymph nodes swell and are followed by a rash anywhere on your body.

Treatment for this condition basically revolves around home remedies/self-care measures. If the measures do not work, you may have to take antibiotics especially if another bacterial infection follows.

6. Diphtheria

This is a respiratory infection which affects your nostrils and throat and is caused by bacteria strains known as corynebacterium diphtheriae. The condition is marked by inflamed neck-area lymph nodes, fever and trouble swallowing food and breathing. Upon examination, you may notice a grey-white, thick membrane coating your tonsils and pharynx. There are other cases where white or large gray patches cover your swollen tonsils. Children of five years and below are most susceptible to diphtheria infection.

The easiest way to prevent this condition is vaccination. When it comes to treatment, intravenously administering antitoxins is the best way to combat this infection. You may also use antibiotics like penicillin.

7. Vicent's Angina

This is an infection that is characterized by ulcer formation on your oral cavity, pharynx and tonsils. Initially, you will be able to see the ulcer on your gums, and as it continues spreading, it will ultimately reach the tonsils. Once the ulcers have developed, they tend to bleed easily upon touch. White spots will also be visible on your tonsils.

The first treatment will be antibiotics. Among the various antibiotic types available, the most effective will be those in penicillin grouping.

8. Viral Pharyngitis

This is an infection affecting your pharynx (part of the throat that begins from tonsils to the voice box). In most cases, this condition is marked by pharynx and tonsils inflammation. The tonsils will also have pus that looks like white patches.

Once the doctor has determined the cause of the infection, they may prescribe some antibiotics i.e. if the infection is bacterial. If it is viral, it will resolve in a few weeks without taking any measures.

General Treatments for White Spots on Tonsils

1. Home Remedies

  • Rest Well. This will also prevent you from infecting others.
  • Drink plenty of water to reduce fever and fight the infection faster.
  • Gargle with salty warm water. Salt has antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties.
  • Avoid certain foods like hot and spicy foods, chips, raw vegetables, foods that contain high acids like tomato sauce as they will aggravate the pain by irritating the throat.
  • Consume dairy products like ice cream as they relive some of the pain.
  • Avoid smoking as the smoke may worsen that condition and also increase risk of having complications.
  • Relieve your painful throat by taking un-prescribed painkillers like ibuprofen.
  • Humidify the air as dry air tends to irritate your throat.

2. Medical Treatments

Medications for tonsils

  • Penicillin (Permapen, Benzathine)
  • Rifampin (Rifadin, Lyphocin)
  • Amoxicillin (Biomox, Trinmox, Amoxil)


  • Ketoprofen (Orudis)
  • Naproxn (Naprosyn, Anaprox)
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin)