Having cracked lips at the corners of your mouth is not only embarrassing but also very painful. This problem can make the opening your mouth difficult and therefore make mealtimes a nightmare. Blisters on the corner of the mouth can make it hard to do involuntary things like smiling.
Having a sore on the side of your mouth can also crush your self-esteem very fast especially when people start thinking it is a sexually transmitted infection.
Medically, cracks on the side of the mouth is a condition referred to as angular cheilitis or angular stomatitis. This is the inflammation of one or both corners of the mouth. It is a very common condition that can affect people in all age groups. Sores in the corner of the mouth can last for a few days or can be a chronic issue depending on the causes.
Symptoms of to expect
The symptoms of angular cheilitis may include;
- Dry cracked corners of the mouth or dry lip corners
- Redness around corner corners of the mouth
- Itchiness and a burning sensation around the corner of the mouth.
- A crusty skin around the corner of the mouth
- Corner of lip sores.
To treat angular cheilitis, you need to know what causes the cracks in the corners of your mouth. There are several reasons why you could be having chapped corners of lips.
I used to have a problem where the corners of my mouth would keep splitting. This was so painful, and I didn’t know what to do with it. I later learned that I had a candida infection. Candida is a yeast infection that thrives in damp places. The sores in the corner of my mouth went away after treating the Candida infection. Candida is caused when saliva gets trapped at the corner of your mouth (especially if you produce excess saliva). This provides a perfect ground for the candida causing bacteria to thrive and multiply and within no time you have developed dry sides of lips which are cracked.
Over licking your lips and thumb sucking
To some people, these are involuntary activities, but they just might be the cause of the cracked corners of your mouth. Saliva contains digestive enzymes which may cause cracked lip corners which won’t heal if you don’t stop licking your lips.
Chronic thumb sucking or sucking on other objects like pens will wipe the natural moisturizer from the corners of your mouth leading to cracked skin and blisters on the corner of the mouth due to dryness.
Certain types of lipstick, toothpaste, acne products, mouthwash, foods and dental appliances could be what causes cracks in the corner of your mouth. This is because your body could be allergic to these products. Acne treatment products are designed to cure acne by drying the affected area. The dry skin at the corner of your mouth can crack leading to a very painful experience.
The cracks in the corner of your lips could be a sign of Vitamin B deficiency or chronic iron deficiency in the body or both.
Iron deficiency is a common condition for babies in underdeveloped countries. It lowers the body’s immune system, which may, in turn, allow conditions like dry lip corners and cold sores at the corner of the mouth to attack the body.
Vitamin B is responsible for making your skin healthy. Its deficiency will, therefore, lead cracks at the corner of your mouth. Other symptoms of Vitamin B deficiency can include fatigue, frequent bruising and wounds that take longer to heal and sometimes memory loss.
Dentures are used to replace teeth damaged by decay or gum diseases, but ill-fitting dentures can cause pain. When the dentures rub against the gums, it leads to soreness and swelling of your gums and even sores on the side of your mouth.
Angular cheilitis and diabetes
Candida causing yeast feeds on sugar. People with diabetes have very high blood sugar. If not controlled, this can act as food for yeast making it multiply and cause cracked skin in the corner of your mouth. Diabetic patients who fail to control their conditions are therefore at a greater risk of Angular cheilitis.
Cracked lip corners and HIV/AIDS
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) lowers the general deficiency of the body against infections. This can lead to a patient contracting opportunistic infections like cracked lip corners that won’t heal, red corners of the mouth or just redness around corners of the mouth and corner of lip sores.
This is however not to say that having cracked lips at the corner of the mouth is a diagnosis for HIV. HIV has got many other symptoms.
Cracked corners of the mouth treatment
There is absolutely no reason why you should endure the nightmare and painful agony of cracked lip corners because there are several forms of angular stomatitis treatment. Angular cheilitis cure is strictly depended on the underlying cause of the cracked lips.
Try these dry and cracked lip corners treatment methods;
As I stated earlier in this article, angular cheilitis is a very common problem that affects almost seven percent of the world population. Now you don’t have to go see a doctor every time you develop cracks around the corner of your lips. These are remedies that are readily available in your kitchen.
Apply some honey
Honey has got very strong antifungal, antibacterial and antiseptic properties. The fact that honey is sweet also makes it the best cure for cracked skin on side of lips in children. You need to apply a layer of honey on the affected area frequently until you start seeing results.
Olive oil is a strong moisturizer and therefore a very efficient sore in corner of the mouth treatment. It will hydrate your lips and prevent aggravating the damage. Olive oil also stimulates faster healing of cracked lip corners.
Aloe Vera gel
Aloe Vera has got antibacterial and antifungal properties making it essential cracked corners of the mouth treatment. First, you extract the gel from the leaves then you apply it to the affected area. You will experience changes within a few days of use.
Cucumber is important when it comes to pain relief when applied to the affected area, it will provide a soothing effect by combating the discomfort and pain caused by the cracks.
We all have a small container of our favorite brand of petroleum jelly in our household be it Nivea or Vaseline. The primary function of petroleum jelly is to moisturize the skin. You can apply a thin layer of Vaseline on the affected area of your lips. This will prevent further cracking at the corner of your lips and fasten the healing process.
Over the counter treatments
There are several angular cheilitis treatments that are available over the counter. Mostly these angular cheilitis creams are used to help get rid of the symptoms of cracked lip corners. Beware of misleading marketing slogans like ‘angular cheilitis overnight cure’ which are just meant to increase sales but have no truth in it. Most OTC treatments won’t help if the underlying cause of the chapped corners of lips is not addressed.
Treatment is always expensive. Here are some ways you can use to avoid getting angular cheilitis in the first place. I believe that prevention is always the best remedy for any condition.
- Avoid licking your lips because it causes lip dryness and cracking. Licking lips or any other objects rid the skin of natural moisturizer. If licking your lips is the cause of cracking them avoiding the act will prevent the problem.
- Avoid sugary foods because yeast feeds on sugar. Presence of excess sugar in the body can lead to candidiasis.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. This will prevent your skin from drying.
- Use mild toothpaste. Cracked lips may be an indication that your lips are reacting to the fluoride that is present in ordinary toothpaste. Avoid the fluoride by using mild toothpaste and cracked lips at the corner of the mouth will be history.
- Make sure you use well-fitting dentures. Practice good hygiene on your dentures to avoid infections.
- Apply nonallergic lip balms on your lips to prevent cracking.
- If you are diabetic, then it is important to manage your condition well to prevent the sugar levels in your body from shooting up.
When to see a doctor
The above remedies may not work if the underlying cause of the cracks at the corner of the mouth has not been addressed. You, therefore, need to seek the attention of a dermatologist if you have tried the home remedies and still the cracked lips won’t heal. The dermatologist will perform certain tests to ascertain the cause and advise you accordingly.