What is Angular Cheilitis?

Most people have probably never heard of or seen the words “angular cheilitis”. Even though the name seems a bit bizarre, it’s entirely possible that you’ve experienced this condition in some way. While it’s still considered to be relatively uncommon compared to conditions like tartar buildup and cavities, angular cheilitis affects millions of people across the globe. Below are some facts and symptoms of angular cheilitis so that you can get your mouth looking healthy and bright again.

Symptoms

Angular cheilitis looks like little red blisters on the corners of your mouth. They might be small and rather unnoticeable, but sometimes the blisters are larger and extend further away from the lips. The blisters are usually dry and itchy, which might cause you to scratch them and increase the irritation that’s already present. The sores also don’t have to be on both corners, as some patients just have a blister on one side or the other.

Causes

Angular cheilitis is caused by excess saliva that has been left in the corners of your mouth. This saliva causes bacteria to grow and eventually develop into an infection that you’ll be able to see in the corners of your mouth. Patients with braces are at a much higher risk of developing angular cheilitis. Braces usually take a while to get used to and might be a bit uncomfortable during the first few weeks of having them on. The extra apparatus rubbing on your gums and lips can cause irritation or cuts in your mouth while also promoting dryness. This could lead you to lick your lips more often, allowing saliva to get trapped in the corners of your mouth. Patients who are stressed or dehydrated might also be tempted to wet their lips more to combat the discomfort of dryness.

Treatments

Your doctor will most likely recommend a cream or ointment to treat the infection. It’s also important to address the root of the cause as well to prevent an infection from happening again. If your dry lips are causing you to lick your lips throughout the day, try drinking more water to alleviate cracked lips. You may also want to exfoliate your lips to remove any excess dry skin. Traditional chapstick is a good quick fix, but some brands contain ingredients that might promote dryness if you use it too frequently. It’s best to stay hydrated and exfoliate now and then if dryness persists.

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