Having cracked corners at the mouth is a condition more common than one would think. In the medical field, this condition is known as angular cheilitis or perleche, being found in persons of different genders or ages. In many people, it is often part of a vicious circle. We are talking about those who, having dry lips, keep licking them. The excessive licking can lead to cracked corners, which in turn can lead to even more licking. Also, the cracking of the corners is often accompanied by other symptoms, including irritation and redness. If saliva accumulates and microorganisms penetrate the skin, then the infection can result, aggravating the condition.
The discomfort caused by cracked corners of the mouth can range from mild to severe. There are a lot of people who complain of pain but they also describe that this condition makes them feel embarrassed or unattractive. In many situations, the cracked corners can prevent a person from performing regular activities, such as eating, drinking or even talking. There are different treatments available for such problems, so there is no need to worry about making the problem go away. Also, there are prevention methods that one can take into consideration for the future.
Causes of Cracked Corners of Mouth
These are the most common causes of cracked corners of the mouth:
- Excessive saliva production during sleep (drooling)
- Wearing orthodontic braces
- Aging and skin wrinkles (skin sagging at the corners of the mouth, forming lines)
- Constant licking of the lips (especially during the cold season, when the lips are dry)
- Stomatitis – can appear as the result of denture infection, requiring removal and cleaning (appears in dentures that have been poorly fitted)
- Absence of teeth – when teeth are lacking, the corners of the mouth can become modified, being more prone to cracks
- Different medical conditions:
- Anemia – especially the one caused by iron deficiency
- Vitamin deficiency (vitamin B)
- Damage to the oral mucous membrane
- Excessive closure of the mouth
- Dry mouth
- Reduced immunity
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Candida – yeast infection
- Bacterial infection – staphylococcus/streptococcus
- Polymicrobial infection
- Contact dermatitis
- Appears as allergic reaction to a particular irritant or substance
- Thumb sucking
- Chewing gum
- Breathing through the mouth
- Sucking on different objects, just as pens
- Drug induced condition – improves once the medication is eliminated
These are the most common methods of treatment recommended for cracked corners of the mouth:
- Fitting of dentures and disinfection of the area
- Also requires the instruction of the patient to follow an excellent denture hygiene
- New denture construction
- The adjusted bite will prevent the excessive closure of the mouth
- Collagen/hyaluronic acid injections
- Restore the natural lines of the face, preventing the cracked corners of the mouth
- Barrier cream
- Recommended during the night
- Viral infection
- Anti-fungal medication – topical administration (cream/ointment)
- Oral administration is recommended in more serious cases
- Bacterial infection
- Antibiotics – topical administration (cream/ointment)
- Oral administration is indicated in severe bacterial infections
- The treatment should be followed for as long as it is prescribed, otherwise the bacteria will develop resistance to the treatment
- Topical administration – corticosteroid creams reduce the inflammation and discomfort
- Treatment for the underlying conditions
- Cancer – chemotherapy, radiotherapy
- Diabetes – medication to keep the glucose level under control
- Vitamin deficiency – iron, vitamin B supplements
- Topical or oral administration
- Recommended for contact dermatitis
- Reduce the inflammation and other associated symptoms.
If you want to be certain that you will never suffer from cracked corners of the mouth again, then these are the prevention measures that you need to take:
- Regular disinfection of the dentures – there are special solutions in which you can keep them overnight
- Excellent denture hygiene – maintaining this will prevent the corners of the mouth from becoming cracked
- Improved oral hygiene – regular brushing of the teeth, visits to the dentist in order to prevent tooth loss
- Quit smoking – this is also valid if you are used to chewing tobacco. Smoking can prematurely wrinkle the skin, leading to sagging and cracked corners of the mouth, among other modifications.
- Wash your face with antibacterial soap – this will reduce the chance for antibacterial infection
- Avoid using objects of personal hygiene from other people, including towels. This is one of the easiest ways for a fungal infection to be transmitted. This will, in its own turn, leading to cracked corners of the mouth.
- Get treatment for anemia or other vitamin deficiency. If you are improve the levels of iron or vitamins in the body, then the risk of cracked corners will be reduced as well.
- Take immune supplements when the cold season kicks in. This will help you maintain a strong immune system and be protected against different problems, including cracked corners.
- Use a lip balm made from natural ingredient instead of constantly licking your lips. Do not allow them to become dry and keep them moisturized on a regular basis.
- Avoid potential irritants or allergens touching your face. Check out the label of each cosmetic or face care product, before actually using it. Keep a list with all the things you are allergic to.
- If you are not sure whether you are allergic to a product or not, be sure to test it on a small surface of the skin. In case there are modifications present, refrain from further using that product.
As you can see for yourself, there are many treatments available for cracked corners of the mouth, depending on the cause that led to such modifications in the first place. However, it is for the best that you try and prevent the condition from occurring. Follow the measures that were presented above and you will have beautiful lips, with healthy corners. Keep in mind that hygiene is the most essential method of prevention, whether we are talking about the one involving dentures or the entire oral area. When hygiene is maintained to the highest standards, the risk of cracked corners is genuinely reduced.
Pictures of Cracked Corners of Mouth
Here are some of the photo collection of cracked corners of the mouth…