Angular cheilitis, also known as perleche, cheilosis or angular stomatitis, is an inflammatory lesion at the corners of the mouth, and often occurs bilaterally. The condition manifests as deep cracks or splits, which can bleed in severe cases when the mouth is opened. This can often cause shallow ulcers or crusts to form. Anyone can be prone to the condition, but people with incorrectly fixed dentures; people suffering from diabetes mellitus and hypothyroidism; and people who eat unhealthy and do not have enough vitamins and iron in their diets are all more prone to this condition. There are numerous symptoms which can help you identify this condition, including tissue softness and tenderness around the mouth corners, ulceration, cracking and fissuring of the corners of the mouth, redness and drainage of pus.
Cheilosis may be caused by a number of different things, and before a doctor can treat Angular Cheilitis, they need to find out what caused it. When it is caused by fungus, the treatment will usually consist of applying an anti-fungal solution or cream. The creams contain an anti-fungal that kills the fungus, and steroids that heal the swelling and redness. For perleche caused by bacteria, the doctor usually prescribes an antibiotic, but Vitamins may also be prescribed to help boost the immune system and speed up the healing.
In some cases, especially those involving elderly patients, this condition is often diagnosed as a result of vitamin deficiency, in particular vitamin B1, B12 or iron. Doctors will treat Angular Cheilitis caused by vitamin deficiency by prescribing them vitamin supplements, which will need to be consumed regularly in order to heal the lesions.
Chapped lips may also be a cause of cheilitis. This usually happens during winter or extreme cold weather conditions. Cheilitis caused by chapped lips may become worse over a period of time because of a constant licking of the lips. The saliva of the patient may cause the spreading of the bacteria to accelerate in the affected area. This may also be very common amongst children with this condition. Treat Angular Cheilitis caused by a constant licking of the lips by applying lip balm or petroleum jelly; this will prevent further splitting of the mouth corners.
If you have dentures, it is recommended that the dentures be placed or soaked in an antibacterial solution overnight to prevent the bacteria from spreading on the dentures and ultimately infecting your mouth. Dentures that do not fit well may also be a cause of Angular Cheilitis and needs to be rectified as soon as possible.
If you are suffering from Angular Cheilitis and would like a more natural approach to treating it, the following can also be used: Allicin, created by crushing garlic; tea tree oil; Citronella oil, obtained from the leaves of Lemon grass; Iodine; olive leaves; Orange Oil; Palmarosa oil; Patchouli; Lemon myrtle; Neem Seed oil; Coconut oil; Zinc, obtained from dietary supplements or natural foods like pumpkin seeds or chick peas; and Selenium, found in Brazil nuts.
Angular Cheilitis is not a mere mouth infection; it can become a condition that, when left for too long, may not be as easily treated. So look out for the symptoms and if you suspect Angular Cheilitis, it is best to see a doctor as soon as possible.