Angular cheilitis

Angular cheilitis (also called perlèche, cheilosis, or stomatitis) is a condition with deep cracks and splits at the corners of the mouth. If severe, the splits or cracks may bleed when the mouth is opened and a shallow ulcer or a crust may form.

Possible causes of angular cheilitis include:

  • Infection. Fungal infections are the most common, but viral or bacterial infections can also occur.
  • Nutritional deficiency of vitamin B.
  • Over-closure of the mouth in someone who has been without teeth or dentures for some time.

In young children, the cracks and splits often begin with lip-licking, biting the corners of the mouth, or thumb-sucking.

Treatment depends on the cause and can include lip lubrication, antifungal and antibiotic medicine, vitamins, and dentures for a person without teeth.

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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