If you have noticed white spots on tonsils, you are probably wondering why they are there and whether you should be concerned. For a person who has never seen such a problem present itself before, the appearance of these white spots can be quite alarming.
You probably want to know whether there are any effective home remedies that can sometimes deal with the problem. If this is the case, you will be glad to find that this article discusses common causes of these white spots and how to treat them.
Always remember that if your symptoms are very severe or are persistent, you should visit your doctor to be examined at the earliest possible time. This is because white spots on the tonsils can sometimes be a symptom of a problem that only professional medical attention can resolve.
In those cases and in others, however, the home treatments we discuss later on will probably be helpful in soothing your symptoms until you can get to the doctor (which should be as soon as you possibly can). If your white spots are caused by something less serious (for example, a minor flu virus), than it is possible that the home remedies could even solve the problem.
- 1 Causes of White Spots on Tonsils
- 2 Treatments for White Spots on the Tonsils
- 2.1 Honey and lemon juice
- 2.2 Gargle with warm salty water
- 2.3 Completely cut out alcohol and smoking
- 2.4 Warm chicken broth
- 2.5 Warm water
- 2.6 Camomile tea with honey
- 2.7 Ice pops
- 2.8 Cold compress
- 2.9 Avoid contact with potential irritants
- 2.10 Use a humidifier
- 2.11 Rest
- 2.12 Drink lots of water
- 2.13 Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen
- 2.14 Throat lozenges
- 2.15 Oregano oil
- 2.16 Garlic
- 2.17 Probiotics
- 2.18 Baking soda
- 2.19 Cut down on your talking as much as possible
Causes of White Spots on Tonsils
Let’s begin with an explanation of exactly what the tonsils are. The tonsils are comprised of three parts: the adenoid tonsil, lingual tonsil, the two palatine tonsils, and two tubal tonsils. The two palatine tonsils are what you probably think of when hearing the word “tonsils.” The palatine tonsils are located at both sides of the back of the throat. They are lymphatic material.
White spots can appear on the tonsils for many different reasons. They can occur in the presence or in the absence of pus, breathing difficulty, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, fever, pain, and/or swelling.
One possible cause of white spots on the tonsils is tonsillitis. Many of us have tonsillitis as children, so chances are good you have actually experienced this illness before. Tonsillitis is usually caused by a virus infection, but occasionally has its roots in a bacterial one. A sore throat is the most common symptom of tonsillitis.
Other symptoms of tonsillitis include swelling, pain, and redness of the tonsils. Also, your tonsils might be coated in a white color, or have spots full of pus on them. These are the white spots that might occur. If you have tonsillitis, you might also have a fever (high temperature), ear pain, coughing, headache, nausea, and fatigue. The lymph glands in your neck might be swollen and painful, and there might be changes in your voice or a loss of voice.
When tonsillitis is caused by bacteria (rather than a virus), the symptoms are generally more severe, and fever, swelling, bad breath, and an extremely sore throat will probably be present. There might be white material with a foul smell on the tonsils. When tonsillitis is caused by viral infections (such as flu and the common cold), you will probably have milder symptoms.
If your tonsillitis has a bacterial cause, your doctor will probably need to prescribe antibiotics. If your symptoms are severe (regardless of whether you think it has a viral or a bacterial cause), make sure to visit the doctor right away.
Another possible cause of white spots on the tonsils is strep throat. Strep throat is caused by bacteria called streptococcus, and has symptoms such as inflammation and throat pain. Strep throat often includes symptoms such as loss of appetite, very sore throat, difficulty swallowing, swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, sudden onset of fever, child, and headache. Your throat might look red while you have pus streaks or stripes on your tonsils and throat.
A prescription for antibiotics from your doctor is usually needed. Home remedies can be used to help alleviate symptoms while you are waiting to see your doctor, but you really need to see a medical professional as soon as you can. Strep throat can become very serious.
Oral thrush (candidiasis)
We all have candida in our bodies, but when it overgrows it causes white patches. Oral thrush is most likely to occur in people who have compromised immune systems (such as people who have HIV), diabetes, and cancer, and in pregnant women and children.
With oral thrush, the white patches will likely be creamy in appearance. The white patches may be on the tongue, tonsils, and other areas of the mouth. If the whiteness is scraped off, the area will probably be very red.
It might even bleed a little bit. If you have oral thrush, you will probably experience painful or burning feelings in your mouth. You might also have a cottony sensation in your mouth, redness in the mouth generally, cracks on the corners of your mouth, and a reduced appetite.
Leukoplakia usually involves having patches of thick white material on areas such as your tongue, the bottom of your mouth, your gums, and the insides of your cheeks. This material can also form on the tonsils and in the throat. The white patches can be sort of grayish in color, and you will find them impossible to wipe away.
Leukoplakia can be an early warning sign of cancer, but most cases are not cancer-related. When leuokoplakia is a warning sign of cancer, there are often (but not always) red spots on the white patches. Circumstances and habits that are associated with leukoplakia include tobacco chewing, dentures that do not fit correctly, rough or uneven teeth, and cheek biting.
One type of leukoplakia involves having white follicles on the tonsils. This is sometimes referred to as “hairy leukoplakia,” and it creates hairy or fuzzy white patches that resemble ridges or folds.
Tonsillolith or tonsil stones
If you have white bumps on your tonsils, you might have tonsil stones. Tonsil stones are hard white spots on the tonsils. They might be easily visible on the tonsils, or they could be within the tonsil folds. Tonsil stones occur when dirt, mucous, dead cells, foods, or bacteria becomes trapped on the tonsil groves or pockets, and then calcifies.
One symptom of tonsil stones is very bad breath. Others can include chronic tonsillitis, difficulties in swallowing, sore throat (pain specifically where the debris is trapped), swelling of the tonsils that results from inflammation caused by the debris, and ear pain.
When tonsil stones are large, surgical removal and antibiotics might be needed.
Check out our detailed article on how to get rid of tonsil stones naturally.
While rare, oral cancer can be a cause of white spots on the tonsils. Make sure to consult your doctor about the white spots that are worrying you.
Some of the symptoms that often arise when oral cancer is present include: the presence of a lump within your mouth or neck, hoarseness of the voice that is long-lasting, swallowing, chewing, or speaking problems, bleeding and numbness of the mouth, loss of weight, swelling of the lymph nodes, ulcers, difficulty in jaw movement, loose teeth, and others. If you have any suspicion whatsoever that you might have oral cancer, make sure to visit your doctor right away.
Mononucleosis (often called mono) is a viral infection. The virus which most often causes mono is the Epstein-Barr virus. Mono is especially common in young people (in their teens and 20s).
Mono can cause white patches and pus on the throat and tonsils. Mono’s most common symptoms include white patches in the throat and/or on the tonsils, muscle aches and weakness, loss of appetite, sore throat, swelling of the neck, the groin, and the lymph glands of the arm area, headache, skin rash, and others.
Treatments for White Spots on the Tonsils
The home remedies described below will help you to alleviate the symptoms connected to your white spots on the tonsils. This can be useful in helping you get through until you can see the doctor. They might even resolve the problem by themselves (depending on the cause of your white spots).
Honey and lemon juice
Mix a bit of honey into some lemon juice and water, and sip the solution slowly. This will help to soothe the throat. Honey and lemon also have antibacterial properties. You should do this a few times a day.
Cut down on your sugar intake: Reduce your intake of sugary foods. This is especially helpful when the cause of the white dots is thrush (candidiasis).
Gargle with warm salty water
Gargling with a warm saline solution will help to soothe your throat, and to fight bacteria. Make sure to gargle with this solution several times per day (in the morning, after you eat each meal, and before you go to sleep).
Completely cut out alcohol and smoking
Staying away from alcohol and cigarettes will help your body resolve the problem.
Warm chicken broth
Chicken broth will help to soothe the tonsils and throat. Chicken broth is also thought to boost the immune system.
Sip warm water to help soothe the area. You should do this throughout the day.
Camomile tea with honey
Camomile tea and honey will soothe the area, and honey has anti-bacterial properties.
If you are experiencing swelling, eating ice pops will help. Do not eat ice cream, as the dairy in it will increase your production of mucus.
Holding a cold compress on your neck can help to bring down swelling.
Avoid contact with potential irritants
Avoid having to breathe strong perfumes or cigarette smoke.
Use a humidifier
Using humidifier will keep a strong level of moisture in the air, and this will help to soothe the affected area.
Getting lots of rest will help make your body and immune system better able to handle the problem.
Drink lots of water
Make sure to drink lots of water, especially after you have eaten. This will help to prevent debris from becoming caught in the tonsil area.
Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen
Ibuprofen will help to reduce pain and swelling.
Suck on the throat lozenges you can find at any drugstore or grocery store.
If you feel that your symptoms match those we presented earlier of an oral thrush infection, you will probably find oregano oil helpful. Swallow a very small dose of oregano oil every day, with lots of water. Most oregano oil comes in bottles with droppers. Make sure to read the back of the bottle to find out the standard dosage.
Oregano oil has potent anti-fungal properties, and candida is a fungus. Oregano oil can also be helpful for bacterial and viral infections, as it also has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. You can buy oregano oil at any health food store, and some drugstores.
Garlic is one of nature’s most potent anti-bacterial substances. Cook and mash up some garlic and eat as much as you can every day, mixing it in with other foods if you like. If you are worried about bad breath, then take garlic capsules. You can buy them at any drugstore.
Probiotics will fight any type of fungal infection, such as thrush, and also help the body fight bacterial infections. Probiotic capsules can be purchased at any health food store or drugstore.
Mix a little bit of baking soda into warm water, and gargle with the solution. You should do this several times a day, preferably in the morning, after each time you eat, and at night before you go to bed.
Cut down on your talking as much as possible
Although it is generally a difficult thing to do in today’s world, try to cut down on your talking as much as you can. This will allow your throat to rest, and give it more of a chance to help itself resolve the problem.