Angular Cheilitis is a condition wherein lips and or corners of the mouth get inflamed and mostly develop a deep crack or scar sort of mark thereupon. In some cases the cuts will be noticed in the center of the lips too. Sometimes, the cuts will be itchy and when touched there could be mild bleeding or redness. Angular Cheilitis is in no way related to herpes. This condition could last for weeks depending upon whether or not it is treated in a timely fashion.
Generally it is a combined effect of a fungal infection and a bacterial infection; In other words the lesions could be actually a result of many internal forces and certain traits or habits such as:
1) Licking of lip: People who are less confident while in a group of people or speakers-orators have this trait. Some people develop this habit out of nervousness also.
2) Under-nourished or mal-nutritional profile: People who are neglected and denied healthy living conditions would mostly fit in this category.
3) Children who do not get proper care and diet: Poverty and large size of family with less bread earners could be one of the reasons.
4) Habit of opening and closing of mouth: Involuntary habit found in many people. This habit is seen in some people even when they are not talking or consuming any food or drink.
5) Incessant thirst or dry throat and/or dry mouth: Athletes, sports persons and people diagnosed with symptoms of diabetes would fall into this type.
6) Drooling habit: Some people have the saliva dribbling out of their mouth, unknowingly. This habit could be seen more often in the people who are absent minded or in those people who are unkempt, untidy and unaware of their facial appearance.
7) People using dentures: People undergoing treatment of fixing of dentures, through a dentist. Loose or ill-fitting dentures leave a gap and you are unable to close the mouth properly. This is the situation when saliva is released and accumulates in the mouth and stays in if not thrown out. The dampness then encourages the bacteria manifestation if the Cheilitis has already set in. It would be advisable to have the dentures re-fitted or adjusted to avoid reoccurrence of troubles due to untidy dentures .
8) Later years of one’s life: Those who are very old and/or paralytic patients, can get affected much too easily.
9) Extremely cold weather conditions are also one of the causes but it should be noted that it can affect you any time of the year. One gets affected more in the winter or cold weather because this is the time when your immune system is weakest as compared to other seasons.
10) Hot weather can make you thirsty very often and leaves you dehydrated. The direct result of this could be chapped or cracked lips. The crack offer space for the bacteria to reside and grow, with the aid of moisture and dampness.
11) Deficiency of Vitamin B and lack of iron content in your body is also another reason to get infected.
12) Diabetics at times have been seen affected by this infection-in their case healing may take even longer.
13) Lesions can be result of bouts of vomiting which have lasted for a week or more.
14) Cracks are superficial but the cause of cracks could be some other serious illness, unknown to the patient. In such case, it is of vital importance to treat the other ailment first so that the angular cheilitis will vanish on its own.
Other possible causes:
1) Vitamin B-12 deficiency.
2) Iron and Folic acid Deficiency.
It has been observed that angular cheilitis is not contagious or does not spread due to skin contact with other healthy persons. The patient need not worry as it is not a life-threatening problem. This is not to mean that the treatment should be avoided. Any disorder must be treated with due care and Angular Cheilitis is not an exception. Since this problem appears on facial area, it is difficult to conceal it. Using the make-up to hide the cracks or lesions will not help as the problem will continue to persist beneath the make up and might flare-up again.
1) Fissures at the corners of mouth and /or on the lips. Anything touching the lips could lead to a burning sensation, as if the lips are on fire.
2) Pus formation in the cracks or lesions.
3) Soft tissues in the area of the mouth which are sensitive to touch.
4) Burning sensation which lingers for some time at a stretch and then vanishes for a while.
5) Ulceration of the oral cavity.
6) Difficulty in opening and closing the mouth. This can happen while talking, yawning, eating and drinking. The area could be so painful that it will bring tears to your eyes. The pain will vanish quickly as the mouth is closed.
a) Licking the cuts around your mouth with the tongue should be completely avoided. The salival wetness that will get coated on the cuts will only make the bacteria to multiply and spread in other areas. The bacteria will multiply in moist conditions and one needs to control this reflex action of licking the cuts and lesions with the tongue.
b) The cuts or cracks are at times very sensitive-try to avoid spicy, hot foods as these will increase the burning sensation in that area.
c) Boiling water, tea, coffee or any other acidic type of drinks should be avoided as well. Try to consume beverages after these have cooled down a bit. Room temperature is the most suitable for any intake of food or drink.
d) Since the areas near the mouth are cracked/ chapped, the discomfort is a fall out and it can not be left untreated. The mouth can come in contact with many foreign substances such as dust, water, sunrays and it is likely that the problem may intensify after the contact.
e) If you have a tendency to develop cracks surrounding the oral area, make it a habit to carry dry paper tissues to be used every time you feel there is any moisture in those areas. Use a different tissue each time.
A host of topical ointments, creams are available in the market but care should be taken while buying them; the best course of action is to consult your doctor and take his advice before purchasing the ointment. If the problem lies on the lips, a lip balm could be a solution in form of a First-Aid. A visit to a doctor is advised in any case so that the real cause of the problem could be identified and treated.
Since the angular cheilitis could be a result of various other disorders, it is for the doctor to suggest the best suitable ointment of the particular type of lesion or crack. All ointments or creams are not same and the chemical compositions differ with each formulation. If you feel that the symptoms have aggravated after using a particular ointment, report the development to your doctor immediately. Some chemical compositions can increase the irritation rather than actually offering a relief. It is imperative that the original cause is identified to discourage a relapse of symptoms.
The patients could choose the home remedies from the options discussed in the following spaces, but not without informing your doctor of your intention of using home remedies.
1) Aloe Vera: This wonderful herb carries a natural anti-bacterial medicine and has tremendous healing properties. An extract of its fibrous leaves or the juice taken twice a day would be very beneficial. It will have its most famous double action over the lesions and cuts. It is available in gel form also. The gel could be applied on the affected areas thrice a day to obtain quick results.
2) Salt Water at Room Temperature: This is another useful remedy in treatment of Angular Cheilitis. The salt has a tendency to kill germs in a natural way. The contact of salt water on the lesions initially may sting a little but you may rest assured that this simple commonplace remedy is going to work miraculously and swiftly too.
3) Ointments are available to prevent chapping of lips which can be a parallel line of treatment under a doctor’s supervision. These applications will curtain spreading of the cracks in the least and may help the cuts to heal faster. These ointments will have anti-bacterial agents within their chemical composition too.
4) Balanced Diet: Eat plenty of fresh green and leafy veggies, fresh fruits, food items made out of whole grains, vitamin supplements, lean proteins, dairy products. Avoid fast food at any cost. Cases who have had a history of mal-nutrition should be referred to a qualified dietician.
5) Iron supplements: The capsules with iron supplements are readily available with chemists and could be used under doctor’s supervision. Liquid filled capsules get absorbed easily and should be consumed for faster action.
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