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Learn More About The 7 Most Common Sore Throat Ailments

Welcome To The

SayAhh! Sore Throat Guide

Normal Throat and Oral Cavity 

The Normal Throat and Oral Cavity

Because there are many variations in normal throats, with or without illness, we strongly recommend that you examine your child's (or teenager's or adult's) mouth and throat at a time when you know there is no disease present, so that you will have a clear basis for later comparison. With older children, teenagers, and adults, one may observe certain areas that appear to have more redness vs. the surrounding tissue, including some visible capillaries and other color variations. These may be normal for that individual, even with no disease present.

 

While examining the mouth, inspect the tongue, gums, and insides of cheeks for color changes, swelling, and ulcerations. Normally, these areas should be pink in color, without redness, swelling, or ulcerations.

 

Anatomy of the mouth (also referred to as the oropharynx) includes the tongue, gums, cheek areas, soft and hard palate, uvula, tonsils, anterior pillars of the tonsils, and throat (pharynx). A normal exam should show the areas as pink and clear, without redness, lesions, or tenderness. Tonsils should blend into the pink color of the back of the throat, without pus and also without coming together to block or obstruct the throat. If there is a suspected obstruction, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

 

Please note that all descriptions of "normal" characteristics are necessarily generalizations. The anatomy and appearance of the mouth and throat should be expected to vary between individuals. Always discuss your observations with your healthcare provider.

Summary of Mouth & Throat Observations:

Children Ages 6 to 12

Figure 1. Shows pink posterior pharynx (throat), uvula, tonsillar pillars, soft / hard palate and tongue.

Figure 2. Shows pink posterior pharynx (throat), uvula, tonsillar pillars, soft / hard palate and tongue.

Figure 3. Shows pink uvula, tonsillar pillars, soft / hard palate and tongue.

Figure 4. Shows pink posterior pharynx (throat), uvula, tonsillar pillars, tonsils, soft / hard palate and tongue.

Figure 5. Shows pink posterior pharynx (throat), uvula, tonsillar pillars, tonsils, soft / hard palate and tongue.

Figure 6. Shows pink posterior pharynx (throat), uvula, tonsillar pillars, tonsils, soft / hard palate and tongue.

Figure 7. Shows pink uvula, tonsillar pillars, soft / hard palate and tongue.

Figure 8. Shows pink uvula, tonsillar pillars, soft / hard palate and tongue.

Figure 9. Shows pink uvula, tonsillar pillars, soft / hard palate and tongue. Posterior pharynx is normal with some mucus covering the throat.

Figure 10. Shows pink uvula, tonsillar pillars, soft / hard palate and tongue. Note the forward leaning uvula.

Figure 11. Shows pink uvula, tonsillar pillars, soft / hard palate and tongue.

Figure 12. Shows pink uvula, tonsillar pillars, soft / hard palate and tongue.

Figure 13. Shows pink soft and hard palate, pink uvula, pink tonsils extending out of tonsillar pillars without pus, lesions, redness, or throat / airway obstruction

Figure 14. Shows pink soft and hard palate, pink uvula, pink tonsillar pillars without pus, lesions or redness.

Teenagers Ages 13 to Adult

Figure 1. Shows pink uvula, tonsillar pillars, and soft palate.

Figure 2. Shows pink uvula, tonsillar pillars, soft palate, and tongue.

Figure 3-9. Shows pink uvula, tonsillar pillars, tongue,and soft palate. *Note the variations in appearance of the uvula.

Figure 4. Shows pink uvula, tonsillar pillars, tongue,and soft palate.

Figure 5. Shows pink uvula, tonsillar pillars, tongue,and soft palate. Although not ill, this individual has some reddening of the tonsillar Pillars and tongue.

Figure 6. Shows pink uvula, tonsillar pillars, tongue, and soft palate.

Figure 7. Shows pink uvula, tonsillar pillars and soft palate.

Figure 8. Shows pink uvula, tonsillar pillars and soft palate.

Figure 9. Shows pink uvula, tonsillar pillars, tongue,and soft palate. Although not ill, this individual has some reddening of the tonsillar Pillars and tongue.

The information below describes the anatomy and appearance of a normal throat. Find links to the other common sore throat ailments in our Sore Throat Guide at the bottom of the page.