Angular cheilitis, also called cheilosis or angular stomatitis, is a painful inflammation and cracking of the corners of the mouth. It sometimes occurs on only one side of the mouth, but usually involves both sides. The sores of angular cheilitis are caused by a yeast (Candida) infection. The yeast grows easily in moisture that collects in skin folds at the corner of the mouth. The pain seems to cut literally especially when you need to open your mouth – something that you have to do when you need to speak, eat or drink.
Causes Of Angular Cheilitis
The condition is more common than most people think and can affect people of almost any age. Virtually everyone has experienced angular cheilitis at some point in their life, so you are not alone and there are many other people that are being confronted by this very painful condition.
Although angular cheilitis may become infected by a yeast (Candida) infection or other pathogens, studies have associated the initial onset with nutritional deficiencies. The main deficiencies are riboflavin (Vitamin B2) and anemia, which may be evidence of poor diet or malnutrition (celiac disease). Zinc deficiency has also been associated with angular cheilitis. Angular cheilitis can be caused by bacteria, but is more commonly a fungal infection. The growth of the fungus can lead to a chronic infection syndrome that causes the condition to continue without treatment.
Angular chelitis can also be an indication of anorexia nervosa and/or bulimia nervosa due to both malnutrition and as a side effect of persistent vomiting. Angular cheilitis may also be part of a group of symptoms (upper esophageal web and glossitis defining the condition called Plummer-Vinson syndrome, also referred to as Paterson-Brown-Kelly syndrome. Angular cheilitis occurs frequently in the elderly population or those with improperly fitting dentures. The dentures may not separate the upper and lower jaws far enough causing the condition.
Less severe cases occur when it is quite cold (usually in the winter), and is commonly known as having chapped lips. Individuals may lick their lips in an attempt to provide temporary relief, but such an action only makes the condition worse. It can also be caused by medications that dry the skin, including isotretinoin (Accutane), an analog of vitamin A. In some cases, angular cheilitis may indicate the presence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). People with health disorders such as anemia, diabetes and immune deficiencies are particularly vulnerable to angular cheilitis.
Your dentist or physician first will look to see if your dentures fit properly and inquire as to your oral habits, such as licking the corners of your mouth. Your doctor may also order blood tests to look for an indication of anemia or an immune deficiency. Another method of diagnosis is to test a culture from the area for bacterial or yeast infections.
Once the underlying cause is corrected, the area is healed quickly.
Most angular cheilitis prevention treatments focus on eliminating the cause, identifying poor oral habits, ensuring proper fitting dentures and proper nutrition. People with underlying medical problems may consider visiting a doctor since they are the most likely have the need to use steroids, antifungal, antibacterial medicine or antifungal pills.
Angular Cheilitis Treatment At Home
There are many effective cures that use only natural treatments and items you probably already have at home. Home remedies are much less expensive, often more effective than a visit to the doctor and can easily be purchased from any drug or grocery store.
Many concentrate on “drying out” the areas where bacteria and fungi flourish without causing the sores, lesions, and cracks to exacerbate. The most troublesome aspect of angular cheilitis is that it can reoccur if it is not treated properly.
Listed below are some home remedies that have been effective as an angular cheilitis treatment.
Home Remedies for Angular Cheilitis
- The drying out of any part of the body is normally a sign of dehydration, so drink lots of water every day as a treatment and prevention.
- A well-balanced diet is really the best home remedy, since iron, riboflavin, vitamins B-2, B-3, and B-12 deficiencies can be a cause. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and other foods high in iron. The intake of vitamin supplements, especially riboflavin and niacin, as well as eating more green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale may have a beneficial effect.
- Reduce the intake of alcohol, as well as fruits and other foods that have higher levels of sugar in them.
- Slice a piece of cucumber and rub it on the corners of your mouth.
- Aloe vera gel helps to provide relief, but isn’t a long term cure for the infected skin areas.
- A special lip balm that has good reviews is called “Dr. Dan’s CortiBalm” and can be found for about $4.00 on Amazon.
- Keep the air moist while you sleep by placing a humidifier in your bedroom.
- Follow an anti-fungal diet and limit consumption of foods such as refined sugar, yeast, alcohol, and dairy products.
- In Europe, there is a cream, basically a diaper rash cream, called “Sudocream” that many have found beneficial.
- Protective substances such as petroleum jelly are often used to prevent the infection from getting worse.
Glycoalkaloids have beneficial effects for skin conditions, according to health researcher Bill E. Cham. These alkaloids are found in eggplant and one method of preparation is to cut up an eggplant and soak it in a container with apple cider vinegar at room temperature for one week.
The alkaloids will seep into the vinegar, and the eggplant pieces can then be discarded. Apply the vinegar solution as needed to treat the infected areas. However, other sources argue apple cider does not help Angular Cheilitis, so consider this remedy with care.
When to Call a Professional
If you have recurring or constant inflammation in the corners of your mouth, contact your physician or dentist.
Once the cause has been eliminated, the prognosis for recovery is good.
In addition to the causes listed, denture wearers should visit the dentist regularly to ensure proper fit and face support. Also, avoid licking or rubbing the corners of your mouth.
Have You Suffered From Angular Cheilitis? if So Please Share The Treatments That Worked For You!
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