There are plenty of small things that happen to us that we never really give much thought to. For example, have you ever gotten those cracks in the corner of the mouth? They tend to be a little stiff and blistery. Did you know there’s an actual name for those and that those cracks are treatable? Those cracks are called angular cheilitis.
In this article, we will take a look at angular cheilitis causes, angular cheilitis symptoms, and angular cheilitis treatment. We even have home remedies to help get rid of those pesky cracks. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll be able to notice those cracks earlier and clean them up before anyone else notices.
What Causes Cracks in Corner of Mouth
So, we now know that the cracks in the corner of the mouth are called angular cheilitis. But what causes angular cheilitis? What are the things that lead to those cracks in the corners of your mouth?
There are a few causes of angular cheilitis.
It may seem odd, but yes, your own saliva can cause the cracks in the corner of the mouth. The moisture from saliva gets trapped in those corners and becomes fertile ground for fungus and bacteria. This can be a common issue for people with braces or dentures.
It may seem gross and brings to mind images of small mushrooms growing out of your face but it’s true, angular cheilitis is usually a result of a fungal infection. In particular, it’s caused by a yeast called Candida. Parents might recognize Candida as the fungal infection that causes diaper rash in babies.
3. Bacterial Infection
As noted above, trapped saliva can attract bacteria that can cause the cracks and slight blistering at the corner of your mouth.
The cracking at the corners of your mouth might just be due to dehydration. If you don’t get enough fluid into your system, your skin can start to dry out a little, including the corners of your mouth.
Now that you know what causes the cracks in the corner of the mouth, it’s time to look at what you can do to try to treat them.
How to Treat Cracks in Corner of Mouth
While angular cheilitis can be kind of gross to have or to look at, luckily, there are some medical options for you to use to get those pesky cracks to go away.
1. Anti-Fungal Cream
As we noticed in the previous section, the most prevalent cause of angular cheilitis is a fungal infection. Luckily, there are some over-the-counter anti-fungal creams that can help clear up the fungal infection. If the infection is particularly stubborn, there are prescription creams that can help move the fungus out of the corners of the mouth.
2. Zinc Oxide Paste
Zinc oxide paste can help repair the damage of the cracked corners of your mouth. It works especially well if the damage is a result of dehydration.
3. Good Oral Hygiene
A lot of the bacteria that can cause angular cheilitis originates in the mouth. To combat this, just keep up good oral hygiene. If you brush and floss properly and use mouthwash, it will eliminate a lot of the bacteria that will cause the cracks in the corners of the mouth.
Also, make sure your dentures fit properly. Poor fitting dentures can lead to excess saliva mucking up the corners of your mouth, leading to angular cheilitis.
4. Petroleum Jelly
If the corners of your mouth are cracking due to dehydration or your mouth drying out, using a little bit of petroleum jelly in the corners can help. The jelly locks moisture into those areas, as well as helps heal and prevent the cracking in the corners.
While these medical means can help you clean out the cracked corners of mouth causes, there are several natural remedies that can help you with your angular cheilitis.
Home Remedies for Cracks in Corner of Mouth
For those people who don’t want to take a trip to the pharmacy or want to use a natural remedy for the cracks in the corner of the mouth, there are a few treatments you can make and use in the comfort of your home.
1. Olive Oil
Olive oil has long been used as a home remedy for many things, but you can also use it for the cracked corners of your mouth. A few dabs in the corner of the mouth can help moisten the cracks, and the vitamin content can help repair the cracks.
Another widely used natural remedy, in this case, honey’s anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties, can help clean up bacterial infections. This remedy works best if you apply honey to the cracks and let it sit for around 10 to 15 minutes and then clean the honey off.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is great for healing damaged skin. Take one aloe vera leaf and refrigerate it for a few hours. Take the leaf out of the fridge and cut the leaf.
Squeeze out some of the aloe vera gel and use a cotton swab to place some of the gel into the cracked areas of the corners of your mouth. Let the gel dry for 15 to 20 minutes. Then, wipe the gel away.
Repeat this method for a few days (twice a day for a week or two should help).
4. Cocoa Butter
Natural cocoa butter can help heal and moisturize angular cheilitis.
Cucumber can help moisturize dry skin as well as alleviate some of the discomforts that come with angular cheilitis.
6. Neem Leaves
Leaves of the neem plant can be used to help clean out angular cheilitis-causing infections. Take one neem leaf and crush it until it is relieved of its juice. Apply the juice to the cracks in the corners of the mouth.
Hopefully, these home remedies might be able to help you clean out your problems with angular cheilitis.
Angular Cheilitis Can Hurt But it Doesn’t Have To
Angular cheilitis can be ugly. It can be painful. It can be gross. But luckily, between the medical treatments and the numerous home remedies that are available to you, it doesn’t have to be.
It’s easily treatable and can easily be cleaned up. All you have to do is a little bit of work. Hopefully, we’ve provided you with the tools that you can use to treat your angular cheilitis and get your mouth back to its healthy self.
“Cracked Corners of Mouth,” Med-Health; http://www.med-health.net/Cracked-Corners-Of-Mouth.html
“Angular Cheilitis,” WebMD, July 12, 2016; http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/angular-cheilitis#2
“10 Best Home Remedies for Angular Cheilitis,” Home Remedy Shop, November 15, 2013; https://homeremedyshop.com/10-best-home-remedies-for-angular-cheilitis/