Angular Chelitis (Broken Skin in the Corner of Mouth)

Angular cheilitis (also known as Angular stomatitis) is a condition that causes inflammation at the corners of the mouth.

CAUSE
• Candida albicans (fungal) and/or staphylococcus aureus (bacterial) infections, which affect about 15 per cent of people who wear dentures. Ill-fitting dentures are a risk factor for developing the type of fungal infection that causes Angular cheilitis.
• People with a compromised immune system, such as HIV or cancer patients and patients taking immunosuppressant medications are more susceptible to infective Angular cheilitis.
• Deficiencies of vitamin B2 (riboflavine), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and iron.
• Irritation of the mouth and lips, caused by frequently licking the lips.
• Allergies to toothpastes, dental cleansers, dental floss, cosmetics (particularly lipsticks), and sunscreen.
• Decreased saliva production, caused by factors such as ageing or infection.
• Angular cheilitis can also be a side effect of, or allergy to, certain medicines.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
• Red, inflamed, broken skin at the corners of the mouth.

TREATMENT OPTIONS
As with all medical conditions, consult your Doctor for the diagnosis and treatment of Angular cheilitis. Your doctor will be able to establish the cause of your condition, which will determine the appropriate treatment. Your doctor may advise one of the following treatments:
• Angular cheilitis that is caused by infection may be treated with anti-fungal and/or anti-bacterial medications.
• Angular cheilitis that is caused by decreased saliva production may be managed by drugs that stimulate saliva production or artificial saliva.
• Allergies to oral cleansers, toothpastes and other topical agents are best managed by discontinuing use of the product.
• Your doctor will advise you on the best way to manage Angular cheilitis that is a side effect of, or allergy to, certain prescription and non-prescription medications.

DIET HINTS
Supplements may be of assistance if dietary intake is inadequate. Dietary deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals can cause angular cheilitis. These include:
• Vitamin B2 (riboflavine). Major food sources include milk and dairy products, cereals, brewer's yeast, meats (especially organ meats) and some green leafy vegetables.
• Vitamin B3 (niacin). Major food sources include peanuts, rice, bean, liver, kidney, food yeasts, avocado, fish, eggs and lean meats.
• Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). Major food sources include yeast, brown rice, sunflower seed, rice, soya beans, nuts, egg yolk, bananas, rockmelon, liver, wheat germ, fish, chicken, beef, potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage and avocados. Foods that have been processed such as breads, cakes and confectionery contain almost no vitamin B6.
• Iron.

PHARMACIST'S ADVICE
Ask your MedAux Pharmacist for advice.
1. Your pharmacy stocks a range of anti-fungal and anti-bacterial medications, which may be recommended if the Angular cheilitis is caused by infection.
2. If the Angular cheilitis is caused by nutritional deficiencies, ask your pharmacist about a multi-B group vitamin.