What is Angular Cheilitis? The medical terms associated with Angular Cheilitis are known as cheilosis or angular stomatitis. Simply stated…It attacks the skin around the corners of your mouth, which leads to painful cracks, inflammation, and in some cases bleeding depending on severity.
There are many factors which lead to this condition. The most predominate cause is moisture in the folds in corners of the mouth. Since moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria this will eventually lead to infection and inflammation, which in severe cases can lead to crust forming in the corners of the mouth. Secondary causes which are often overlooked are nutrition and hygiene. Deficiencies in iron, zinc and riboflavin tend to exasperate the problem as well as poor oral hygiene.
Believe it or not one of the first signs of Angular Cheilits is chapped lips. This by itself is not cause for concern however when chapped lips are continuously licked it can easily turn into Angular Cheilitis. Most people think that by licking their lips it moisturizes the skin, but in reality in makes the condition worse. The saliva increases the risk of infection since it contains a lot of bacteria. This condition can worsen for people that live humid or cold climates, where chapped lips are more prevalent. This condition is more prone to arise in older people and children due to the fact their weaker immune systems, and sensitivity to extreme temperatures. The infection with Candida Albicans (thrush) can further increase the patience sufferance and make the condition even more severe.
Angular Cheilitis is usually treated by doctors with antibiotics or with an ointment containing 1% hydrocortisone. The problem with this is that generally takes a long time to see any real results. Partly because over time the bacteria that the antibiotics are trying to fight get stronger and smarter, and the antibiotics used to treat the condition become less effective.
The ointment only provides temporary relief of the symptoms. It will dry out the crust in the corners of the mouth, but if you only treat the symptom then it will continue to come back, which is why most people end up fighting this condition for years in most cases.