8 Causes of White Spots On Tonsils That You Need to Know


White spots on tonsils are gross, irritating, painful and ugly to look at. Your breath stinks like a carcass and you can’t even eat your favourite pizza either. But, don’t be disappointed, you are not the only one suffering.

However, I’ve learned a lot about white patches on tonsils through my own fair share of research. And I can say, there are many conditions that cause these ugly white spots on your throat such as tonsil stones, Strep Throat, Oral Thrush, Tonsillitis, Diphtheria, Oral Herpes, Vincent’s Angina, Mononucleosis etc.

Let’s discuss find out the reason for your suffering.

Here Are 8 Reasons For Having White Spots On Tonsils

1. Tonsil Stones or Tonsilloliths

white spot on throat (tonsil stones)
Tonsil Stones

Tonsil Stones may be one of the reasons you are having white spots on tonsils. These are basically small clusters of calcified material accumulated in your tonsils.

Generally, tonsil stones develop in the palatine tonsils, but they can also occur in the lingual tonsils. These white spots are made up of anaerobic bacteria, food debris, mucus and dead cells.

Symptoms of Tonsil Stones

  • Persistent bad breath
  • White spots on tonsils
  • Sore Throat
  • Swelling of Tonsils
  • Earaches


If you’ve above symptoms then you’re suffering from Tonsilloliths. Home remedies may or may not be effective in getting rid of this white stuff in your throat. If you want to read out the treatments for tonsil stones, you can read our previous article related to it.

Interesting Read :Click here to read about home remedies for tonsil stones

2. Strep Throat

White patches on tonsils due to strep throat
White Patches due to strep throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection than can be one of the causes of white spots in throat. This infection is caused due to streptococcal bacteria and will invade your pharyngeal tissue.

Strep Throat is usually spread via air passage when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Mostly kids and teenagers are the ones who suffers from the bacterial infection.

Symptoms of Strep Throat

  • A severe sore throat
  • Painful swallowing
  • Fever Over 101°F
  • Swollen Tonsils with white patches
  • Skin Rashes
  • A headache and nausea


If you’ve above symptoms, then you’re infected with streptococcal bacteria. If you want to treat Strep throat, you’ve to complete a course of antibiotics as prescribed by the doctor.

You can also follow some home remedies to ease the symptoms of strep throat. But, these will not cure you completely, you’ve to take antibiotics. If it’s left untreated, you can suffer from complications like rheumatic fever and kidney disorder.


3. Oral Thrush

White spots on tonsils due to oral thrush
Oral Thrush can be one of the causes of white patches on throat

Oral Thrush is a fungal infection caused by Candida albicans yeast. It’s characterized by white spots on the back of throat and tongue. However, it can also extend down the esophagus and result in painful swallowing.

The corners of your mouth will become sore and ragged. Actually, Candida albicans is present in our digestive tract, mouth, and skin in small amounts. When their number increases, it causes a problem for us.

Normally, babies and adults with a weakened immune system suffer from Oral Thrush.

Symptoms of Oral Thrush

  • White bumps on the tongue, gums or tonsils
  • Pain in the bumps
  • Dry, cracked skin at the corners of the mouth
  • Difficulty in swallowing food


You can take plain yoghurt and other probiotics that can help in killing Candida yeast. Your doctor may prescribe you antifungal medicine like itraconazole or antifungal mouthwash like nystatin to cure the infection.

4. Tonsillitis

White Patches Due To Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection. This condition is characterized by inflamed tonsils accompanied by fever. Sometimes, you could also have swollen tonsils with white spots or filled with pus.  Mostly, children between preschool ages and the mid-teenage years suffer from this problem.

Symptoms of Tonsillitis

  • Swollen, inflamed tonsils
  • White patches filled with pus on the tonsils
  • A Sore throat and difficulty in swallowing
  • Fever
  • Stomachache (Especially in children)
  • Headache
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes
  • Stiffness in neck


The doctor might prescribe you some antibiotics if your tonsillitis is due to bacteria. If you’ve tonsillitis due to a viral infection, then you can follow these steps. Tonsillectomy may be recommended for recurring tonsillitis.

You May Like To Read: 5 Reasons Of Tonsil Stones & Tips To Prevent

5. Mononucleosis

Mononucleosis can also cause white spots on tonsils

Mononucleosis is a contagious viral infection characterized by white spots on throat. It also causes headaches, fever and chronic fatigue. The infection is caused by a herpes virus known as Epstein-Barr virus and particularly affects teenagers and adults in 20’s.

Symptoms of Mononucleosis

  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Inflammation of Tonsils
  • White spots on throat
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Swollen spleen and liver (occasionally)


Doctors may prescribe you corticosteroids for severe swelling. You can also take OTC medications to relieve your pain and headache. You need to drink lots of water and take proper rest to get well soon.

6. Diphtheria

Diphtheria in tonsils
A gray membrane covering tonsils due to Diphtheria

This is a bacterial infection caused by corynebacterium diphtheriae. It affects the mucous membranes of your nose and throat. You may also notice white patches on tonsils. Children below five years of age are most susceptible to this infection.

Symptoms of Diphtheria

  • Sore throat and difficulty in swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Fever and chills
  • A grey membrane covering your tonsils
  • Rapid breathing or difficulty in breathing
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Runny Nose
  • Malaise


The best way to prevent Diphtheria is vaccination. Your doctor may prescribe you use antibiotics like penicillin to treat the infection.

7. Oral Herpes

White spot on tonsil due to Oral Herpes
Oral herpes showing as white bumps in throat

Oral herpes (fever blisters or cold sores), which is caused by HSV-1 herpes simplex virus can be the culprit behind the white spots on back of the throat.

It’s usually transmitted via oral-to-oral contact. However, it can also be transmitted through oral sex, which causes genital herpes.


  • Burning pain and itchiness in the throat
  • Mildly swollen gums
  • Swollen neck lymph nodes
  • Yellowish or white blisters on tonsils (oral sores).

Oral sores can occur on the lips, gums, inside of the cheeks, front of the tongue, throat and the roof of the mouth making eating or drinking difficult.


Though there is no permanent cure for herpes virus as it can recur, but you can use anti-viral medications to treat and ease your symptoms.

You can also soothe the pain by gargling with salt water, keeping yourself hydrated and getting plentiful of rest.

8. Vincent’s Angina

Vincent's Angina
Vincent’s Angina

This is an infection, characterised by ulcer formation on your oral cavity, tonsils and pharynx. Initially, the ulcer will be seen on your gums, as it continues spreading, it’ll reach the tonsils.

After the ulcers have developed, they’ll to bleed upon touch. White patches on tonsils will also become visible.


  • Severe pain in the mouth
  • Inflammation making the gums red and swollen.
  • Sloughing of gum tissues between teeth
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Fever
  • Pain on one side while swallowing food
  • Cervical lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodules)


Treatments are available for Vincent angina and they’re effective too. The treatment primarily involves bacterial eradication and pain relief.

Oral mucosa is also cleaned by removing plaque and food debris. The doctor also recommends a mouthwash and asks the patient to strictly observe oral hygiene.

In severe cases, mechanical scraping off the dead tissues or hard deposits of tartar from the mouth is done under local anaesthesia.

Concluding Words

After reading the article you might have found the reason for your white spots on tonsils. Some of the diseases listed above can have serious complications if left untreated. So, never neglect your condition if you’re not sure of the reason of your suffering.

Always seek medical help in time. If our article helped you in identifying the cause of white stuff in your throat, then don’t forget to share it with your friends. If you’ve any other queries related to the post, you can ask us in the comments section below.


    • Hello, Mubashir! I would want you to enumerate the associated symptoms. White spots on tonsils can occur due to a number of causes. Do not panic. You can get rid of your problem with proper medication. I would advise you to consult your physician and take a proper medication.


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