Cracked Corners of Mouth

Cracked corners of mouth are a common problem that dentists and dermatologists encounter in their profession. There are several reasons that can lead to cracked corner of mouth, with most of them coming from the mouth or around it. Though it is rare, systemic diseases can lead to perleche too. When the corners of the mouth are cracked, and saliva and contaminants accumulate, an infection normal follows.

What Causes Cracked Corners Of Mouth?

Also known as Angular Cheilitis, cracked corners of mouth can be a troublesome condition, but it is not contagious. The most common symptoms are sores or deep red painful crisp blisters at the corners of the mouth. They might appear on one or both corners of the mouth. When it is serious, the cracks might bleed when the mouth is opened. A crust and ulcer might also form at the corner of the mouth or both. Left untreated, these mouth sutures can last for months or even years. With proper treatment, a week is enough for them to heal.

The most common cause of cracked corners of mouth is fungal infection. Others include:

  • Chapped lips
  • Viral or bacterial infection
  • Zinc or iron deficiency
  • Allergic reaction to products used near or on the lips like toothpastes and lip balms
  • Overexposure to heat or sun
  • Extreme dehydration
  • Dentures that do not fit well
  • Poor diet
  • Autoimmune disorder
  • Infectious diseases like cold sore

Cracked corners of mouth can be worsened by drinking, eating, talking and even smiling. People might confuse the cracks for other conditions like syphilis and herpes. For young HIV/AIDs patients, the condition is often present.

How to Treat Cracked Corners of Mouth

When the cracks get an infection that is not serious, it might only cause minor discomfort. However, if it is acute, the entire mouth and throat will be affected. Nonetheless, despite the seriousness of the infection, the cracks can be treated with topical or oral antifungal medication.

  • Nystatin can be used as a troche. It’s a small lozenge that is rinsed then swallowed to make sure it works in the mouth and the rest of the body.
  • An antifungal ointment can be used to clear the infection by applying generously on the corners several times in a day. Ointments can be used together with steroid reams that will help manage inflammation as well as redness.
  • Zinc oxide paste can be added to the combinations as it is a skin repair agent and also contains antifungal properties.
  • You can also get prescription medicine if you suspect the infection might be serious. The doctor can prescribe strong anti-fungal medication like Monistat-Derm, Nizoral, Mycelex or Vioform-HC.
  • If the crack has started inside the mouth, topical ointments might not always help as they will recur. A chlorhexidine rinse will help to treat the infection and clean dentures if you have any.
  • If your corners are cracking because of dryness, you should not use treatment that contains menthol or alcohol. Licking your lips will also worsen the condition so you should avoid it at all time.
  • Your dentist should make sure that your dentures fit well and all missing teeth are replaced. Maximum oral hygiene will help cracks not to form as well as wrinkles at the corners of the lips. You should make sure that your gums and teeth are in good health at all times.
  • Watch out for what you eat: Check on what you are eating. Hot spicy foods can trigger cracks on the corners of your lips. You can also supplement your diet with vitamins and minerals to help with the repair of your skin, such as Vitamin C.

You Can Also Try Natural Remedies

  • Aloe Vera Gel

Applying aloe vera on the cracked corners of mouth is normally very helpful. Prior to application, you should refrigerate the aloe vera leaf. Apply on the crack and let it dry for about 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off.

  • Moisturizers and Lip Balms

Unflavored and unscented lip balms are perfect treatment for cracked corners of mouth. Make sure there are no chemicals in the balms - examples of such balms are virgin coconut oil and petroleum jelly. Apply right before bed time and as many times as possible during the day.

  • Cocoa Butter

Apply natural coca butter on the affected area twice or thrice a day. Cocoa butter is an awesome moisturizer and helps get rid of the problem.

  • Homemade Mixture

You can make a mixture of 1 tablespoon of Vitamin E oil, 2 tablespoons of tea tree oil and ½ tablespoon of petroleum jelly. Apply this as many times as you can during the day and the cracks will heal.

 You can also apply:

  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • Honey
  • Cucumber juice
  • Buckthorn oil
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