Angular Cheilitis, also known as perleche, is a skin condition that affects the area at the corners of the mouth. The condition might fungal or bacterial by nature. The causes are many and varied, but the primary cause is a weakened immune system. The bacteria and fungus that cause the condition are mostly found in the saliva. When the immune system is weak, the bacteria and fungi lose the balance and grow out of control, thereby causing creases and drool at the corners of the mouth.
The following are some of the common angular cheilitis causes
1. Vitamin Deficiency
Cracking or inflammation resulting from angular cheilitis could indicate a lack of riboflavin or vitamin (B2). Riboflavin in the body is used to produce energy as well as metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Therefore, if you suspect that you are suffering from angular cheilitis, increase your intake of eggs, kidneys, liver, milk and lean meat. All these foods are rich in riboflavin. It’s also imperative that you include foods rich in vitamin B12, pyridoxine, folic acid, niacin, and zinc in your diet.
2. Weather Conditions
Sunburns are another common cause of angular cheilitis. Most people do not hydrate enough even after spending countless hours in the sun. The skin that’s found on the lips is very thin and has no hair to protect it from the damaging rays of the sun. Therefore, it’s important for you to take a lot of water when the sun is scorching or even use sun protection mechanisms.
3. Skin Irritants
Lipstick, lotions, foundations, shampoos, and a host of other cosmetics can irritate the skin on the lips. The residues, if not removed well, can accumulate at the end of the lips and cause inflammation. Since the mouth end is creased, and the moisture from saliva is always present, bacteria like candida may thrive and cause the angular cheilitis.
4. Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a condition that affects the digestive tract. If you’ve contracted this disease, it’s recommended that you avoid products that contain barley, rye or wheat as they make cause the villi in your intestines to shrink. This can adversely affect absorption of nutrients from the intestines. One of the key signs that one has the celiac disease is the presence of the angular cheilitis. Therefore, if you notice symptoms of angular cheilitis, please visit a doctor for more examination.
Dehydration is another leading cause of angular cheilitis. Lack of enough fluids in the body could manifest on the mouth with lips cracking at the end of the mouth. If you experience this symptom, it is paramount that you increase your fluid intake so as to create a better balance in your body.
6. Mouth Breathing
Mouth breathing can make saliva flow out of the lips. The excessive saliva can be a real thriving ground for bacteria and a host of other infections. Therefore, if a loved one or a child is having a problem breathing through the nose, it’s vital for you to help them seek the help of a specialist.
As earlier mentioned, saliva has a host of microbes. Constant biting of lips and licking of the same lips will create an environment that’s conducive for bacteria and viruses growth.
There are those people with other habits like touching their lips with dirty fingers, chewing various things such as pens, fingernails and other unhygienic practices. Since your health is critical, it’s paramount that you’re aware of the dangers of performing habits that might facilitate a condition such as angular cheilitis.
8. Wearing Dentures
The elderly in society after reaching a certain age, start losing their teeth. Many opt for complete replacement of the teeth and the surrounding tissue by wearing dentures. There are also those who may lose a tooth and go for partial replacement of the teeth. Dentures, if not fitted properly, may lead to the saliva leaving the confines of the lips. This makes bacteria and viruses to thrive and cause angular cheilitis.
9. Weak Immune System
Our bodies contain a host of bacteria and viruses at all times, and the mouth is no exception. But the body loses the balance when the immune system gets weakened. As such, the same bacterias and viruses may turn and bring a lot of diseases in the body. Whenever the immune system is weak, the bacteria in saliva may lose the balance and bring conditions like the angular cheilitis. Therefore, it is important to exercise a lot and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to maintain a healthy immune system.
The angular cheilitis could also be a symptom of a disease affecting the immune system such as HIV. Therefore, when the angular cheilitis signs show up, it is paramount to visit a doctor to diagnose the underlying issue.
Stress could be another reason the body could have a weakened immune system. It’s important to know the daily stressors in your day to day life and have a strategy of how to deal with them. Also, there are those people who use different ways of managing stress like meditation. It all depends on your personal preferences and what works for you.
Patients suffering from diabetes, and who have taken antibiotics recently or systemic steroid therapy are all likely to get the angular cheilitis.
- There are different ways to treat the disease. The interventions could be as simple as making sure that you change toothbrush every now and then.
- Also, visit your dentist regularly for oral checkups. The doctor will ensure that no oral activity is thriving in your mouth.
- As we have seen earlier, angular cheilitis can be caused by having excessive bacteria and viruses in the saliva. It’s therefore important to address this issue as soon as it’s detected.
- Other factors to also look at is how to address issues pertaining to the diet. If you feel like you are suffering from a certain deficiency, just ensure to add appropriate foods like fruits and vegetables in your meals.
- If the problem persists, consider using an antifungal to reduce the inflammation. More importantly, visit a medical practitioner for more professional assistan