White dots on the back of the throat are not typically a cause for concern, but they are likely signs of a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection. These spots may heal on their own, but some may require a doctor’s diagnosis and prescription medication. You may experience other symptoms including throat pain.
White spots on the throat
An infection usually causes white spots on the inside of your throat. A mild, short-term irritation could be a symptom of an infection or another condition. These often occur along with a sore throat. Other symptoms that may occur with a sore throat can include:
White spots on your tonsils, which are inside your throat
A doctor can diagnose the exact cause of these white spots. Keep reading to learn the different reasons for white spots on the throat.
Several types of infections may cause white spots on your throat. These include infections from bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Specific causes can include:
A sore throat could be a sign of strep throat. Some people with this contagious bacterial infection will also have white spots on their tonsils or throats. You might also have these:
Swollen or sore neck glands
Swollen and red tonsils
Red spots on the roof of your mouth
A rash (called scarlet fever)
Along with the white area in your mouth, mononucleosis can make you feel really tired and bring on other symptoms like:
Swollen and sore lymph nodes
Head and muscle aches
It can be spread through body fluids, commonly saliva. These are worst in the first 2 weeks. Because viruses (especially the Epstein-Barr virus) cause most cases of mono, there’s no real treatment. It’s best to rest, drink lots of fluids, and take ibuprofen or naproxen for fever and aches.
Oropharyngeal candidiasis, or oral thrash, is a fungal or yeast infection of the mouth and throat. It happens most often in babies and older adults. The white patches can stretch back into the sides of your mouth and tongue. Some people say they look like cottage cheese. If you try to scrap them off, you’ll see red spots and possibly have bleeding underneath.
You may also feel like there is cotton in your mouth. Your tongue may hurt or burn, making it hard to swallow speak quickly, or taste food and drinks.
See your doctor if you think you or your baby has oral thrush. They’ll go over your antifungal medications and check you out to make sure you don’t have an illness that caused it.
Oral and genital herpes
Oral herpes (HSV-1) is a common viral infection. It can spread through kissing, oral sex, or sharing utensils or cups with someone who has an active infection. Genital herpes(HSV-2) is considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI). it’s spread through skin-to-skin contact. Sex without a condom or other barrier method may increase the risk of STIs, such as HSV-2.
Treatment for white spots
Depending on the cause of your white spots, you may not need treatment. For example, if a virus is responsible, the spots should clear up on their own. If the spots are caused by a yeast infection or bacterial infection a doctor may prescribe antifungal medication or antibiotics.
You might be able to stop white spots before they form. There are actions you can take to limit your chances of contracting certain conditions that cause white spots. For example, basic ways to eliminate harmful germs, such as washing your hands often, should lower your risk for most viral infections. Each condition also has specific prevention steps as well.
Preventing strep throat
Prevention for strep throat is similar to prevention for other viral infections:
Wash your hands often
Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
Touch your face as little as possible
Since strep throat is spread through respiratory droplets. You can decrease your chances by not sharing drinks or utensils with others.
Since mono is spread through saliva, it’s important to limit sharing utensils, drinks, and bottles with others. For example, instead of sharing a water bottle with a friend on a hike, you could lower your risk of mono by bringing on water bottle for each of you.
Preventing oral thrush
Oral thrush is prevented by the following good dental health practices:
Brush your teeth regularly
Rinse your mouth after meals
Since thrush often affects infants, it’s important to clean pacifiers between each use. If a child is formula-fed, it’s also important to wash the nipple between uses.
Preventing oral and genital herpes
Using a condom or other barrier method during sex may help prevent herpes and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you or a partner has HSV-2 and experience recurrent outbreaks, taking daily suppressive medication can lower the chances of passing the infection to a partner.
White spots on your throat can mean that you have a virus. It can often take 1 to 2 weeks to resolve. If you have persistent, severe, or worsening symptoms, consider making an appointment with a healthcare professional. For severe symptoms, like a high fever or severe pain, you may need immediate medical attention.
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