Angular Cheilitis is an infraction on the sites of the mouth caused by bacteria, fungi or bacteria and fungi. In this medical condition, skin dries up and cracks are formed on the corners of the mouth. This is a painful situation. You will feel pain while eating and smiling when you try to open your mouth. Inflammatory lesions are found on the labial commissures or the mouth angles which are reddish in colour. The bacteria and fungus that causes Angular Cheilitis are naturally present in case of healthy human beings but they are under control. If the immune system somehow weakens due to mouth trauma, the bacteria and fungus can cause Angular Cheilitis.
Causes of Angular Cheilitis
Many websites mentioned that Angular Cheilitis happens due to vitamin deficiency- vitamin B deficiency. Even though B vitamin is important for the body since it helps the immune system and keeps the skin healthy, deficiency of this vitamin does not cause Angular Cheilitis. A study in 2005 by the New Hanover Regional Medical Center proved finally the fact that Angular Cheilitis was not caused by deficiency of vitamin B. Researchers know that angular cheilitis is caused by bacteria and/or fungus. When our body and the immune system is healthy and strong, they cannot spread and cause the problem. But when you are ill, or your immune system is weak due to some reason, it may not be able to keep the bacteria/fungus causing angular cheilitis in control. If any recent mouth trauma, deep skin crease, excess saliva, chapped lips happen, then the bacteria/fungus causing angular cheilitis get a chance to spread and cause the problem. Spread of the bacteria/fungus may happen in the following way-
- If you touch your lips with dirty hands
- Drooling while eating or sleeping
- If you chew your fingernails or other items
- Application of lipstick, gloss, chapstick or anything else on your lips
The following conditions may result in weakening of the immune system and spread of angular cheilitis-
- Dental work
- Physical injuries on your mouth or face
- Chapped lips
All these conditions increases the possibility of spread of the bacteria/fungus that causes angular cheilitis.
Diagnosis of angular cheilitis
Diagnosis of angular cheilitis is done with the help of a culture test. This test is useful in finding out whether bacteria or fungus has caused the medical condition. For the culture test, medical technicians obtain a swab from one of the affected corners of the mouth. The culture test helps in finding out the involved microbial strain and the main cause of the infection.
Angular Cheilitis herbal and home remedies
Even though there are several over the counter medications including topical ointments and treatments are available, but not all of them are effective against angular cheilitis. Using the medicines may result in disappearance of the condition but it generally show up again after some. The herbal and home remedies are effective in this case. Angular cheilitis can be treated naturally and at home using lemon, cucumber and tea tree oil. Even though the home remedies may not be able provide a permanent cure, but they will definitely enhance the healing process along with providing relief instantly. Some of the most popular and effective herbal and home remedies of angular cheilitis-
You can use cucumber slice on the affected area to alleviate the soreness that happens due to angular cheilitis. Cucumber hydrates the affected part and also relaxes it. You need to gently rub the cucumber on the dry part. You can also use Aloe Vera extract on the affected part of your skin for instant relief from the pain caused by angular cheilitis.
In case of painful slits you can use a home-made special mixture. This home-made mixture contains 2 tablespoon of tea tree oil, 1 tablespoon of vitamin E oil and little bit of Vaseline. Once mixed thoroughly, you need to apply the mixture on the affected parts that have cracks. Apply it for 4 to 5 times every day. The mixture will help in healing the slits within a short time of 2-3 days. You can also use lemon on the affected parts to get relief and for faster healing. There is another home remedy that is used for treatment of angular cheilitis. For that, you need to get a good over-the-counter antibacterial dishwashing soap. First, soak your lips in bowel in warm water for one minute. This will help in opening up the lesions and softening of the infected area. Then wash your hands with the antibacterial soap and taking small size of the soap on your index finger. You need to wash the moist lip corners gently until you see lather. Leave the lather on your lips for some time. In the meantime, wash your hands with hot water to remove the bacteria and fungus from it. Now, you need to wash the infected area with hot water. Rewash your hands with hot water. After washing the lip area, dab the corners and the mouth with clean tissue until it's dry. Then use Vaseline or any other petroleum jelly on your lips. This will seal the area from air contact, which will prevent bacterial growth. After two hours, you need to wipe off the area with tissues. Repeat the process if you want to enhance the healing process.
Sun, chlorine and saltwater
Many people who suffered from angular cheilitis found that their condition improved when they went for vacations in places with pools and beaches. Some of them even reported complete healing of angular cheilitis. Sea water, which is salty, may definitely help in healing of angular cheilitis. It generally helps in different medical conditions like eczema, bug bites, poison ivy etc. Salt water dehydrates the cell membrane of bacteria that causes angular cheilitis, thereby killing the bacteria and stopping the production process. The salt present in the saltwater also helps in drying of the wounds caused by angular cheilitis. People who go to beaches or go for swimming, gets lots of sunlight. Fungus cannot thrive under sunlight since it needs dark and moist environment for survival. Exposure to sunlight helps in killing the fungus present in the mouth corner infection. The combination of Sun, saltwater and chlorine can kill fungus and bacteria and helping the healing process of the wounds caused by angular cheilitis. They help in skin healing, which can help in curing angular cheilitis infections. People also use baking soda for treatment of angular cheilitis. It helps in reduction of pain and swelling which is seen in the mouth corners. Carmax or other chapsticks are also used for temporary relief. Eating a diet to improve the immune system will definitely help but it will take lots of time. Rubbing alcohol will help you to clean and disinfect the mouth corners. It may be little painful, but it will help you to reduce the infection. There are angular cheilitis toothpastes available which do not contain Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and as a result reduces the discomfort and irritation while brushing the teeth. Besides using the herbal and home remedies, you should also eat a diet which is rich in nutrients and vitamin and minerals to strengthen the immune system. It will help you to fight any health problem you are facing.
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