- Do you have a red, painful sore in the corner of your mouth? It could be angular cheilitis
- Angular cheilitis is often mistaken for cold sores or chapped lips, but it is usually caused by a fungus
- Excessive licking of the licks can lead to angular cheilitis
If you have dry, chapped lips and rubbing the chapstick isn’t enough, the lips may not be chapped. You could have a skin condition that most people don’t really know about: angular cheilitis.
“Angular cheilitis is a skin condition that causes painful inflammation in one or both corners of your mouth,”
What causes angular cheilitis?
Basically, angular cheilitis is caused by the build-up of saliva in the corners of the lips, which can cause them to become dry and cracked. “When saliva breaks down and inflames the skin at the corners of the mouth, the infected areas can be colonized by bacteria or yeast that are normally found in the mouth,” says Batra.
The inflammation and cracking in the corners of the mouth can lead to painful sores. “As a result, it can be difficult to open your mouth wide, and some may have a burning sensation on their lips or mouth,” says Batra. In more severe cases, some people may have bad taste in their mouth or difficulty eating, especially if the irritation develops into open, bleeding blisters.
Often times, people lick their lips to try to relieve the pain, but this could actually make it worse. “This creates more saliva, which creates an ideal environment for bacteria or fungi like yeast to grow,” she says.
Angular cheilitis is often confused with cold sores, but there is one key difference, says Batra: “Visually, angular cheilitis appears as cracked, scaly skin around the corner of the mouth, while cold sores can appear anywhere in the mouth. Usually it looks like a collection of small bubbles that crust over the days, ”she says.
“Also, cold sores have life cycles, so you often feel a burning or itching sensation on a specific area of your lip before a blister forms. Angular cheilitis has no warning signs until a sore occurs. “
Who is at risk?
Well all, but some people are more prone to angular cheilitis than others. For example, if you have deep lines around the corners of your mouth (also known as “puppet lines”), saliva is more likely to collect in these deeper crevices, putting you at a higher risk of inflammation.
Angular cheilitis is also more common in people with recurring oral thrush (fluffy white patches on the tongue or inner cheeks) due to an imbalance in a fungus called candida, which can be caused by an immunodeficiency or frequent use of corcitosteroids or antibiotics, says Batra.
Smokers, people with braces, and people with sensitive skin are also more prone to fungal infections. It is also particularly common in older people: “Older people often have excess saliva due to dentures, tooth loss and vitamin deficiencies, which increases their risk,” says Batra.
Certain medical conditions such as anemia, diabetes, immune diseases, and some cancers carry the risk of angular cheilitis.
Is Angular Cheilitis Contagious?
Unlike cold sores, angular cheilitis is not contagious, according to Fallbrook Smiles’ dental practice. The condition can spread to the other side of your mouth, but it is unlikely to spread to other areas of your body.
How to treat angular cheilitis
“If you develop angular cheilitis, keep the inflamed area clean and dry to prevent the infection from getting worse,” Batra says. “Your doctor may also prescribe a topical steroid cream to aid healing.” In more severe cases, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or antifungal drugs.
That includes applying lip balm, petroleum jelly, or coconut oil to soothe and moisturize the irritated areas, says Batra. But be careful: if the infection is left untreated, it can get worse and spread to the surrounding skin or cause oral thrush.
To prevent angular cheilitis from occurring, stay hydrated, keep your lips dry, apply chapstick regularly, and practice good oral hygiene, Batra says. Also, stop licking your lips because not only does it spread saliva, it looks incredibly gross too.
This content is created and maintained by a third party and is imported onto this page so that users can provide their email addresses. You may find more information on this and similar content at piano.io