Sore corner of mouth won’t heal

Angular Cheilitis Is the Gross Mouth Infection You Didn’t Know You’ve Had

I have noticed cracking at the corners of my mouth, they won’t go away. What is it and what should I do?

Do you have a painful, red sore at the corners of your mouth? Have you tried rubbing on chapstick and it doesn’t do the trick? The culprit may not be chapped lips. You could have a skin condition known as angular cheilitis.  Angular cheilitis is often mistaken for a cold sore or chapped lips, but it’s usually caused by a fungus. Licking your licks excessively can contribute to angular cheilitis. Cracking of the corners of the mouth is a common condition that is frequently seen in both the offices of dermatologists and dentists.

Angular cheilitis is a skin condition that can cause one or both corners of the mouth to become painful, inflamed and sore. Often mistaken for “a cold sore in the corner of my mouth” these cracked corners may extend onto the lips or skin of the face slightly, but it is primarily confined to the corners of the mouth.

Fast Facts on Cracking at the Corners of the Mouth (Angular Cheilitis)

  • Angular = “Angle” , Cheil = “Lips, itis= “Inflamed
  • It is not a disease, but symptoms of something else. It is not a cold sore in the corner of the mouth
  • Characterized by redness and cracking of the skin at the corners of the lips
  • Also known as “Perleche” which is a French word, “lecher,” meaning to lick
  • Angular cheilitis can occur at any age
  • Treatment of the sore in the corner of the mouth involves addressing the underlying cause as soon as possible

What are the symptoms of Angular Cheilitis?

  • The corners of your mouth keep splitting
  • Cracking at the corners of the lips
  • Pain in the corners of the mouth
  • a burning sensation or tenderness at the corners of the mouth
  • Chapped, wet corners of the mouth

The causes of Angular Chelitis are usually associated with infectious organisms including Candida albicans.

The Risk Factors associated with this condition include:

  • frequent  lip licking,
  • Worn dentures that allow the chin and nose to be closer together. People with malocclusion or ill-fitting dentures should see a dentist. With time, ill-fitting dentures can promote bone loss which will eventually worsen overlapping of lips and create a more favorable atmosphere for angular cheilitis.
  • an aging face with anatomical volume loss allowing lip overlap – worn teeth may allow this to occur and make you appear older than you really are- full mouth reconstruction may help this
  • diabetes mellitus
  • conditions requiring pharmaceutical immunosuppression such as chemotherapy for cancer treatment
  • having Thrush- a yeast infection of the mouth
  • a dry mouth (Sjögren’s syndrome) that make you lick the lips repeatedly
  • having dry chapped lips

Sore in Corner of Mouth Treatment

  • It’s likely that you need to see your dentist or physician to properly diagnose and treat this condition
  • Treatment should be customized to address the suspected cause/causes of angular cheilitis which may be a multifactorial condition in the individual patient.
  • Often an anti-fungal cream is prescribed

Dr. Marsh practice serves patients in Sedona, Cottonwood, Clarkdale, the Village of Oak Creek, Bell Rock dental and the Verde Valley area.

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