Angular Cheilitis. What is it?
Posted on: June 23, 2015 by Michael Battell
Bacteria and fungus are naturally present in the saliva and on faces of healthy people and our immune systems usually keep them in check. However, those who have immune system challenges or a weakened immune system due to illness or stress are more susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections. Angular cheilitis is a bacterial, fungal, or bacterial and fungal infection on one or both sides of your mouth that can occur when someone is suffering with a weakened immune system and has:
- Chapped lips
- Trauma to the mouth
- Deep creases in the corners of the mouth
- Excessive saliva, drooling
Denture wearers and those missing natural teeth can be affected by angular cheilitis, particularly if their existing dentures are worn and causing their mouth to be overclosed, or if many teeth are missing and have not been replaced. Overclosure is where the lower jaw and upper jaw come together too far creating pouching at the sides of the mouth and giving the face a more collapsed appearance. This pouched area becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. Bacteria and fungus LOVE warm, moist areas. It is recommended that denture wearers or those with missing teeth who have angular cheilitis arrange a consultation appointment with Battell Denture Clinic to assess their existing dentures and determine if they are contributing to their condition.
Angular cheilitis starts off as tightness and mild discomfort at one or both corners of the mouth with minimal discomfort but can progress to be more sensitive with dryness, chapping and eventually swelling and red lesions where the corners of mouth crack and split.
It is possible for angular cheilitis to heal on its own but may take several week or even months to heal due to the fact that the mouth is moving often (eating, speaking, yawning), and partially healed wounds have a tendency to reopen. There are some medications that can be prescribed by a doctor and other treatments available that can be used to cure angular cheilitis without using any medication. However, please keep in mind that these methods may not be appropriate for every one or every case of angular cheilitis, so it advisable to consult your physician and use your best judgment before treating with an at home remedy.