All You Need to Know About Canker Sore on Tonsil Tissues

What is a Canker Sore?

If you've ever had a canker sore, then you know how painful they can be.

Canker sores are characterized by a yellow or whitish dot on the cheek, the tongue, or any other part of the mouth including the tonsils and their underlying tissues. The canker is often surrounded by reddish, inflamed-looking flesh.

If you get a canker sore on your tonsils, every time you swallow, you'll know that it is one of the most painful canker sores you can get.

Can you really get a canker sore on your tonsils?
Can you really get a canker sore on your tonsils?

What Causes a Canker Sore

Some of the main causes of canker sores include:

  • A small injury as a result of an accidental bite, bump, burn, rough brushing of teeth, or dental work–any small abrasion to the inside of the cheeks, lips, or tongue may not heal properly and may cause a canker.
  • Lack of important nutrients that promote proper growth of tissues, such as iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and folic acid (folate).
  • Allergies or sensitivities to toothpaste or food (coffee, chocolate, shellfish, strawberries, cheese, eggs, nuts, highly acidic foods like pineapple, lemon, and tomatoes, and ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate).
  • Stress.
  • Anxiety.
  • Poor oral hygiene.
  • An allergic response to bacteria in the mouth.
  • Hormonal changes may trigger a canker sore on a woman's tonsil tissue during the days prior to menstruation.

Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not associated with herpes virus infections. If you experience cankers chronically, you should begin keeping a record of everything you eat and drink to help determine what might be the cause. There are also more serious medical triggers for canker sores so if you get them chronically, consult your doctor.

How Long Can a Canker Last?

Even without treatment, canker sores usually heal of their own accord within a matter of days. Ten days is the longest one could expect to suffer from a canker sore but those ten days can be quite excruciating, especially if the sore is located on a highly sensitive part of the mouth like the tonsil.

There are various methods for treating a canker sore on tonsil tissues to help speed recovery and alleviate pain. Ask your doctor which of the following methods might work for you.

Natural Home Remedies for Canker on Tonsil

Before considering any type of treatment, it is necessary to ensure that the blister is a canker sore and is not a not a cold sore (“fever blister”) or a symptom of another condition. Canker sores that develop in any part of the mouth, including the tonsils, are traditionally given anti-inflammatory treatments.

Most of the medicines available to treat cankers will not work on your tonsils because of where the tonsils are situated, but here are a few things that might help:

Foods. In addition to avoiding spicy foods, certain foods will help in treating a canker sore, including yogurt. Its lactobacillus acidophilus helps lessen the burning sensation.

Baking Soda. A baking soda mouth rinse can be used to reduce pain and aid in healing. Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda in a half a cup of warm water, stir, then gargle a mouthful. Be sure not to swallow the mixture. Repeat once a day as needed.

Lozenges. Zinc lozenges are an effective remedy for canker sores. The antibiotic properties of zinc help it kill off germs in the tonsil area.

Hydrogen Peroxide and/or Milk of Magnesia. Mix one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide with one teaspoon of water then dip a clean cotton swab into the mixture and apply it directly to the afflicted tonsil. Then take a new swab, dip it into milk of magnesia, then dab it on. Repeat three to four times a day as needed.

Mouthwash or Gargle. There are a few mouthwashes which contain antibacterial ingredients which can expedite the healing of canker sores. Gargling with saltwater is an ancient and effective home remedy for treating canker sores as well. Use these mouthwashes or gargles at least twice a day as needed.

Cold. Drinking something cold or sucking on an ice cube won't heal you, but it may help numb the pain. Hold a piece of ice in your mouth, as close to the canker as you can get it. Let it melt there for as long as you can stand it.

Vitamin B. Daily intake of at least 100mg of vitamin B12 supplement will help. Also, eat foods that are rich in vitamin B like shellfish, fish, and dairy.

Propolis. Propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from trees, sap, or other botanical sources which has been used for thousands of years as a treatment for canker sores. Propolis is an untested, unapproved herbal antiseptic that cleans out the sore and kills bacteria. You'll find it in the health section of any natural supermarket.

Probiotics. A daily intake of food or supplements with high levels of probiotics is also recommended for people with canker sores on their tonsils. This is especially important when taking antibiotics in order to balance out the bacteria levels in the digestive tract. Probiotics are considered 'good bacteria' and can be found in many supplements and fresh food such as yogurt and dairy products.

Alum. Alum is a chemical compound that has a wide variety of uses. In its powder form, alum can be applied to the armpits as a deodorant that attacks the bacteria that cause body odor. It can also be poured onto dirty water to purify it. Apply a few dabs of alum powder on the sore. The application of alum powder to the lesion of a canker sore can be quite painful and may induce vomiting in some people. However, the high acidity level and the antiseptic nature of the alum is very effective in helping the sore to heal rapidly.

Fever Blister (Cold Sore) vs. Canker Sore on Tonsil

Fever blisters (cold sores) and canker sores both cause a lot of discomfort and pain and it's sometimes hard to tell the difference between the two. However, there are a few major differences:

  • Fever blisters (also known as cold sores) are highly contagious while canker sores are not. Fever blisters are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV).
  • Fever blisters can appear elsewhere on the body (on the nose, eyes, or genitals, for example), whereas canker sores are confined inside the mouth. The tonsils are the furthest areas that canker sores reach, but there is no clear evidence or history to show that cold sores/fever blisters affect the tonsil tissue.
  • The herpes virus that causes fever blisters remains latent even when the blisters themselves are completely healed. This means that the virus is always present, even without signs. On the other hand, a canker sore can heal completely and never reappear, depending on whether or not the person comes into contact with the triggering factor.

Fever blisters and canker sores often do not need immediate medical attention since they are not dangerous conditions and there are many home remedies proven to relieve pain and heal the lesions associated with these conditions.

Which One Will Cause More Discomfort?

  • Canker sores
  • Fever blisters
See results without voting

Have You Ever Faced Canker Sores?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Very Rarely
  • Very Frequent
See results without voting

Since canker sores can occur to anyone at any point in their lives, and most of us would like to avoid them, it is a good idea to figure out what caused yours so you can avoid triggering another. Take careful note of which dietary, environmental, and/or emotional factors may have caused your canker sore and try to avoid them in the future. In the meantime, for the 1 to 10 days you'll be suffering from the canker sore on your tonsils, one or more of the above-mentioned remedies will certainly help.

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Eric 16 months ago

A word of warning with the baking soda mouthwash, the taste is absolutely foul. The first time gargling with it, I gagged to the point of vomiting. Use this near an empty sink, or better yet a toilet, and have a cup of clean water on hand to rinse your mouth out.

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healthbooklet 16 months ago Author

@Eric: Agreed :)

Angela 9 months ago

This is the first time I've ever had a canker sore on my tonsil, and it has to be the absolute canker sore I've ever had. I honestly thought I had strep or something, until I found it.

I occasionally get them on the insides of my lips, and while they're very annoying they never bother me too much. But this one has been absolutely horrible to deal with. I never thought a canker sore could cause so much pain.

When I first got it, I couldn't eat food harder than yogurt for days, and I even struggled to eat a banana. Honey and Cepacol lozenges were the only things that would stop the pain. I was surprised at how effective honey was at stopping the pain. I then found some Burt's Bees cough drops, and I was finally able to function normally (besides eating), as long as I had one in my mouth. Those cough drops were amazing for the pain.

I've pretty much had lozenges in my mouth 24/7 for the last four or five days. It seems like the sore is finally healing, though, so hopefully it'll finally be gone.

Dalton 8 months ago

I too have several canker sores on or close to tonsills. It is THE WORST pain i've ever felt. I'd prefer to have my two legs broken than having to deal with this!

To top it of i was badly diagnosed 4 days ago and the "doctor" gave me antibiotics which probably worsened the cankers thinking the throat pain and fever was just flu. I was on antibiotics for 4 days.

Now on anti-acid and anti-fungal medication along with anti-inflamatory lozenges and finding "some" relief.

Gina 3 months ago

Hi...long time ago I experience the canker's so annoying and bothering me to much.then now I try to use the baking soda..I hope is working..

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    Sree has been a nutritionist for over 8 years. She has written many articles educating people suffering from various diseases and ailments.

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