Angular cheilitis is a term that refers to an inflammatory lesion at the corner of the mouth. It most commonly occurs bilaterally and features with deep cracks or splits. In rare cases if the disease is severe the splits may bleed if the mouth is open wide and there is also crusting. These cracks or splits are rather painful and unappealing and the patients may feel embarrassed.
What are Causes of Angular Cheilitis?
Angular cheilitis is most commonly caused by fungi. The inflammation may be also caused by bacteria. The infective culprits of the infection are normally found in the affected area but they may cause cracks or splits in certain conditions. Namely, the inflammation usually occurs during a cold snap and may be also a consequence of a continual licking of the lips particularly during winter months. Angular cheilitis also points to weakening of the immune system. If the immune system is weak and not functioning properly the body allows the infective agents to grow uncontrollably and cause symptoms and signs of the disease.
Some people have predisposition to angular cheilitis. This particularly refers to denture wearers. Ill-fitting dentures are the most common cause of recurrent angular cheilitis. In case of ill-fitting dentures an inadequate angular alignment of the dentures allows the mouth to close more than necessary. This eventually leads to formation of small skin folders at the corners of the mouth. These skin lesions are an excellent place for uncontrollable fungal multiplication.
And finally, inadequate diet and lack of certain vitamins may be a cause of angular cheilitis.
Treatment for Angular Cheilitis
The very treatment for angular cheilitis basically depends on the underlying cause. In case of fungal or bacterial infection patients are usually prescribed appropriate antibacterial of antifungal topical creams. They are applied for several days and the inflammation soon subsides.
In case angular cheilitis is a consequence of malabsorption syndrome and deficiency of certain vitamins such as B12 vitamin or even the entire group of B vitamins the person may require B complex shots. The doctor decides on the frequency of shots which basically depends on the severity of lesions.
Permanent cure for angular cheilitis is an appropriate treatment for the underlying condition. Once the actual cause is eliminated the inflammation and infection is successfully eradicated and the reoccurrence is prevented. For example, people with ill-fitting dentures are supposed to make a new set of dentures. This way the closure of the mouth will be appropriate and there will be no predisposing factors to fungal infection. And finally, maintain the health and strength of the immune system is also essential in prevention of both, occurrence and reoccurrence of angular cheilitis.