White Patches on Tonsils, Meaning, Pictures and Treatment for White Spots on Tonsils

White patches on tonsils could be strep throat, viral or bacterial infection. In this article find more on the causes, symptoms and how to get rid of tonsils with white patches.

What patches on tonsils always is a sign of infection that affects the tissue, so if you frequently see spots on the tonsils it is just an indication of infection usually covered in the white spots. Sometimes, your tonsils get infected with bacteria or virus. The tonsils become inflamed and swollen leaving white spots filled with pus.

White patches on sides of tonsils

White patches on tonsils can be swollen

Tonsils play a major role in digestion, according to doctors, this simply means that whenever your tonsils are infected with a virus or bacteria, you are likely to have difficulty in swallowing. Did you know tonsils helps to fight off infection?

What do white patches on tonsils mean?

What is the meaning of white patches and spots on tonsils? You probably wondering what this could be! When your tonsils experiences white spots according to medics, it is an indication that your tonsils have accumulated pus. It is often coupled with fever which in most cases makes your throat painful and even swallowing becomes difficult owing to the pain and discomfort.

The white spots actually are pus that develops as white blood cells in your body system kills the bacteria or viruses that tend to infect the tissues. This is part of the body immune system that responds to infection of bacteria or viruses. Probably this is your first line of defense against illness.

White patches on tonsils pictures

How do white patches on tonsils look like? To help you understand how the white specks on tonsils look like or appear, see below an image of white patches on the tonsils. In this article, find more of these images to help you have an in-depth knowledge.

White patches on Tonsils

Picture of white patches on tonsils

What causes white patches on tonsils?

As explained earlier, white specks on tonsils is an indication of infection which triggers the body to send more white blood cells on the infected tissues. What appears as white dots is actually pus. So what are the causes white spots on tonsils? Here are some of the known causes of white dots on tonsils.

1. Tonsillitis

The reason why you have white patches on your tonsils could be a condition known as the tonsillitis. It is an inflammation on your tonsils as a results of exposure to either bacteria or virus. The body respond by warding off the bacteria or viral infection.

In the process of defense, white pus are produced which tend to collect in white patches. You are likely to experience headaches, sometimes fever as the tonsils begin to develop. It is a normal biological process, at this stage it shouldn’t be a bother too much. However, if the symptoms gets worse, consult your health care provider to examine you.

2. Oral Thrush

White patches on tonsils are in some cases caused by oral thrush: a fungal infection that affects your oral cavity including the mouth’s lining. The known fungi responsible for oral thrush is commonly known as yeast or Candida albicans. Once these fungi invade your mouth especially if their number increase past what is considered normal, you develop white lesion noticed more on the back of the tongue and sometimes the cheeks.

Oral thrush causing white bumps on tonsils sometimes appear as swollen deposits with cream color, and tend to alter your taste buds which makes it hard to enjoy food and even swallow in pain.

3. Tonsils Stones

Did you know that tonsils stones can cause patches on your tonsils? Tonsils stones are caused by debris which become held in the crevices. Usually food particles, mucus, dead cells and even bacteria tend to accumulates and build over time.

The accumulation of such particles can be a breeding ground for invasion of bacteria and viruses which makes oral tissues prone to infections. In worse cases, the particles trapped in tonsils grow and with time become hardened making it hard to get rid of them. In the process, the tonsils become inflamed forming pus and in turn leaving white patches.

4. Strep Throat

If your throat gets infected by bacteria, you are likely to get strep throat which is another reason you may be having white specks on your tonsils. Strep throat always associated with severe pain particularly when you swallow food.

This condition can be worse, at times you may develop swollen lymph nodes in the neck and enlarged tonsils. Strep throat makes you have unusual itchy feeling on your throat. It is recommended you visit a physician for treatment. Your doctor will examine and advice you on the best antibiotic dosage to treat this condition.

4. Mononucleosis

You‘ve probably heard of this condition commonly known as mono, it is a viral infection that combines with the usual symptoms such as fever and headaches. It is predominantly found in youths and adolescents who are prone to this virus. The symptoms include: headaches, fever and fatigue.

If you get infected with the virus causing mono, you will experience severe sore throat that is usually characterized by pus and swollen tonsils. Your lymph nodes too become swollen and rashes begin to develop anywhere on your body.

How do you treat this condition? It is actually simple to treat mono, you may start by some self-care or home remedies. However, if the condition gets beyond your control, it is wise to take some antibiotics just to stay safe and avoid another bacterial infection.

5. Diphtheria

When infected by this respiratory condition you are likely to get white patches on tonsils. It affects the nostrils and the throat basically by a bacteria strain known as corynebacterium diphtheriae. The symptoms include inflammation on the neck and lymph nodes.

You may notice white sometimes thick greyish deposits coating on your tonsils and pharynx. They condition is largely found in children under the age of five years who are more prone. Vaccinating the children within this age bracket is the simplest and sure way to prevent the condition from recurring.

6. Vicent’s Angina

Do you develop ulcers on your tonsils? This could be an infection caused by Vicent’s Angina that tend to form ulcers on your oral cavity spreading from the gums and eventually to the throat. The ulcers on the tonsils tend to bleed especially when touched. Usually white patches become visible.

7. Viral Pharyngitis and pus cells on tonsils

If you develop an infection on your pharynx, the tonsil part becomes inflamed, gets swollen and pus will develop forming white specks. Treatment involves first examining the condition by your healthcare provider who will later recommend the right dosage of antibiotics.

8. White patches on tonsils cancer

White dots on tonsils can be an indication of a major underlying medical condition including cancer. In this case, the part that gets infected is the oral cavity which will cause tumor that tends to develop on the surface of the tongue, mouth lips or even gums.

Medical researchers have reported very few cases of cancer of the tonsils but they say if it strikes, it can be deadly. In such a case, you should report any slight changes on your tonsils including symptoms such as white bumps on tonsils and back of the throat.

Yellow Spots on Tonsils

Infected tonsils can have yellow spots

According to Dr. Philip Vingeri, a medical director in radiation oncology situated at Sacred Heart hospital Allentown, cancer can be found anywhere in the mouth – on the gum, around the tongue and the tonsillar crypts too. Tonsil cancer sometimes appears as small ulcers leaving white patches in other areas of the mouth.

You should always seek early treatment if you develop cancer of the tonsils, the tonsils is immediate just at the base of the skull. According to Dr. Theodore H. Gaylor, a specialist in ear, nose and throat, the cancer of tonsils can penetrate major blood vessels and nerves of the brains.

If found early, the chances of survival is almost equal to 80 percent but the worry is, once you develop cancer of the tonsils, it could appear somewhere else, so early and careful examination helps you start treatment. You may be required to start surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to remove the cancer of the tonsils. However, the success of the treatment will largely depend on the stage of the cancer.

9. White patches on tonsils STD, herpes, HIV, gonorrhea

Can you get white patches on tonsils through STD?  The cases of white spots due to sexually transmitted diseases are rare. White specks are caused by viral or bacterial infection such as strep or cold flu. Oral sex or kissing doesn’t cause white dots on tonsils either.

However, symptoms of gonorrhea infections include redness and swelling and in some cases accompanied by ooze of white spots on tonsils. Since gonorrhea is a bacterial infection, the bacteria might as well grow in the mouth and spreads on the tonsils.

If you are infected with syphilis, you are likely to get sore throat in your mouth. The sore may look gray, white or sometimes yellow patches appearing like ulcers.

People with HIV can get thrush or candidiasis: common opportunistic infection that affects the patient due to weakened immune system. When it infects the mouth, it spreads deeper into the throat. White patches can be seen on the tonsil which causes pain during swallowing of food and even saliva.

10. White patch tonsil after tonsillectomy

Can you get white patches on tonsils after tonsillectomy? Tonsillectomy is a medical surgical procedure to remove infected tonsils. Usually if the tonsils are infected frequently, then the infected tonsils are removed through surgery.

If you spot white things on tonsils after tonsillectomy, it shouldn’t bother you much. The white spots on tonsils are basically temporary scabs which occur as the healing process happens. Does it mean you are re-infected? These are not sign of infection but the natural healing process which should disappear within two weeks of the surgery.

However, patient who are recovering from the surgery will have a bad breath for some time but later on resolve once the white flecks are fully healed.

11. Viral or bacterial infections

If you have white specks on the tonsils, most of the time it could be a as a result of infection or an underlying medical condition particularly cancer. Infection in the oral cavity can be caused by viral or bacterial or sometimes cold and flu.

White specks on the tonsils are caused by virus such as the flu or mono, your tonsils could also be under the invasion of bacteria such as the strep.

12. White spots on tonsil smoking and alcohol

If you started smoking or taking alcohol, you are likely to develop white patches on tonsils. How does smoking cause dots on tonsils? According to medics, you risk getting a condition called Leukoplakia which is characterized by white spots in the oral cavity including the mouth, throat and spreads to the tonsils.

Similarly, alcohol too play a role in causing the white specks on the tonsils. Usually, the alcohol and smoke from tobacco irritates the oral cavity which forms white patches on the tonsils. Smoking including cigar or pipe smoke can create a high risk of oral cancer.

In most cases the part affected is the lymphatic system and tonsil being part of the system ends up being infected. Stop using any of tobacco products and alcohols, it may take some time but the condition should resolve on its own.

If the white dots on tonsils are large, they can be removed by a scalpel or laser treatment. If cancer, is the cause, radiation or chemotherapy is done to kill the cells to spread of the cancer.

White patches on tonsils during pregnancy

No woman would want to get strep throat during pregnancy or at any other time. If you are a pregnant woman, you do not need the extra struggles. However, there is no clinical investigation that links strep throat to pregnancy.

Your throat gets infected by the bacteria and tends to spread to the tonsils as well. This causes inflammation of the throat and the tonsils. You get irritations and it can be severe. The infection on the tonsils always forms bumps filled with pus that later develop into white things on the tonsils.

If you get a sore throat or infected tonsils that forms white patches, it has nothing to do with your pregnancy. Treatment involves taking recommended antibiotics by your healthcare provider in case of a mild situation. However, if the problem is caused by an underlying medical condition such as oral cancer, early treatment is advised.

White specks on tonsils without fever/cough

When you have white spots on tonsils without any symptoms of fever or cough, you shouldn’t get worried or anxious. According to Dr. Martin Raff of Healthtap Inc, You may be having tonsillar stones which are just deposits of tonsils stones previously inflamed. If however, you have self-doubt you may see a doctor to examine you further.

White specks on tonsils

White specks on tonsil not cancer

White patches on tonsils won’t go away

If you have white patches on tonsils that won’t go away, then you should visit your health care provider. Otherwise this can be a signal of a major underlying medical condition such as cancer. Oral cancer or ulcers in the mouth can be stubborn and tend to reappear more often even after treatment. Cancer in the mouth tend to affect the lymphatic system, tonsils included. White patches on the tonsils is an indication of a major serious disease such as Leukoplakia infecting the tonsils.

Swollen tonsils with white patches

Do you experience swollen tonsils with white patches? This is inflammation of the lymphatic system which makes you have itchy ears and nose. The swollen tonsils is an indication of viral or bacterial infection which attacks the lymphatic system. The body tends to fight back the infection by producing more white blood cells as way of defense.

In the process tonsils with white patches are formed filled in with pus, the swollen patches can be itchy and sometimes cause fever.

White patches on tonsils on children

Children between preschool and mid –teenage years can be affected by tonsillitis as well. If your kid get tonsillitis, he/she may have red swollen tonsils with white patches or sometimes yellow coating on the patches.

Kids at this age may have difficulty in breathing and often accompanied with pain and bad breath. It can be worse in young children who are unable to describe how they feel. When is the right time to see a doctor for treatment? If the kid refuses to eat, difficulty in breathing or drooling, seek medical attention fast.

How to get rid of white patches on tonsils

How can you get rid of tonsil with white specks? Yellow spots or bumps on tonsils can be removed by medical treatment or home remedies. Below is how you can treat white spots on tonsils.

Medical treatments of white patches on tonsils

Tonsils with patches are basically pus that develops after the white blood cells fight an infection from bacteria or viral. Mild infection on tonsils can be treated by self-medication or home care remedies. However severe cases of white specks on tonsils should always be referred to a physician to ascertain the cause for correct diagnosis. Here are some of the medical treatments.


If you frequently develop inflamed tonsils or they swell to an extent where you find it hard to breathe or swallow food, it is important to have the tonsils removed permanently. Some of the infections on tonsils are hard to treat with antibiotics or simply homecare remedies.

This is a pure surgical procedure that your doctors recommend and it takes only two weeks to fully recover. It may be irritating and you may get sore throat after the surgery but it should be fine with time.


If the white spots on throat are mild and makes you somehow uncomfortable coupled with fever, you should see a doctor or your health care provider who will determine if antibiotics are needed. The doctor should conduct a test by taking a sample of the pus from the white patches and do a test to determine what type of medication to administer.

Home remedies to get rid of white patches on tonsils

If the infections is minor or you have just seen some white specks on tonsils, it can be treated with home care.

Remove tonsil stones

If you develop white patches which at initial stage do not cause any discomfort or no severe symptoms, this could be tonsils stone. It is important to give your body time to heal. Do not try to irritate it further. However, as soon as you begin getting discomfort, you can try to remove it by using a cotton swab.

Gargle with warm salty water

Sometimes when the tonsils develop white patches you feel itchy and get inflamed, you can gargle using a solution of warm salty water. This will helps to reduce infection and inflammation around the tonsils. Do not swallow the mixture, it contains pus which should be spat out.

Stop smoking or taking alcohol

If you develop minor infections of white dots on tonsils, you should quit smoking or taking alcohol to give your tonsils time to heal. Smoking cigarette or alcohol while you have an infection will irritate the tonsils and throat and makes them scratchy. You risk getting more developed white patches that will take quite a while to heal.

Sources and Citations

One Response

  1. Malinda June 23, 2016