Corners of Mouth Keep Cracking

I am a 76 year old women and the corners of my mouth keep cracking and its painful at times. I have had dentures for the past eight years. Can anyone give me some advise as to what is going on and how I can possible fix the problem.

Thanks, Lois in New Mexico

Dear Lois,

It sounds like you a condition known as Angular Chelitis. This causes one to have cracks or lesions at the corners of the lips. It can repair itself if mild however it can become severe if it goes on for a long period of time causing pain and even bleeding. In order to treat this condition one needs to discover the reasoning behind it since there can be many reasons for one to develop Angular Chelitis. One reason you may have developed this could be due to your dentures and or missing teeth before your dentures were placed. If one starts to have teeth extracted as they age especially towards the front of the mouth then the mouth starts to over close and when there is no support from the teeth this leads to cheilosis. Your denture can also contribute to this condition as well. If your dentures are not fitting properly this will also cause the cracking at the corners of your mouth. We first would recommend that you have your denture looked at to see if its the culprit and if so, a new one will need to be made.

Below is a list of other reasons why one may develop Angular Chelitis:

  • Deficiency in riboflavin, iron, and/or zinc
  • Anorexia or Bulimic
  • Constantly biting or licking the lips
  • Medications that dry out the skin
  • Deficiency in protein within the diet. This is very common in the elderly
  • Bacterial or fungal infections. For example Herpes Simplex, Staphylococcus, and candida albicans

Treatment for minor conditions caused by a bacterial infection can be treated with a topical antibiotic .If its a fungal infection you can go to the store and purchase an over the counter antifungal cream. Consult with your dental health care provider first to see if your denture may be the problem. If not, you may need to visit your family doctor to see you are having some sort of vitamin deficiency.

This post is sponsored by Phoenix implant dentist Dr. Arthur Chal.

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