What Causes Angular Cheilitis To Appear?

what causes angular cheilitis

What causes angular cheilitis – the medical name for painful sores, ulcerations and split tissues at the corners of your lips?

Poor nutrition is one factor. Harsh weather conditions are another. But the main culprit is fungal or bacterial infections.

The good thing is you don’t have to live with this painful, disfiguring condition.

When you know what causes angular cheilitis, you’re better able to seek out treatments that really work against it and that can help to prevent it from recurring.

Think about it. Once you know the reasons or causes, you can take the steps necessary to rid yourself of the problem, thereby bringing your smile back.

What Causes Angular Cheilitis?

 Scientists believe there are four factors that may cause angular cheilitis. These factors include:

  • Infection
  • Poor nutrition
  • Harsh weather
  • poor dentition


Let’s look at each one of these factors in turn.


What causes angular Cheilitis

 Sometimes we lick our lips. We do this out of habit, or because our lips feel dry.

Sometimes it’s a nervous mannerism. Unfortunately, saliva is a breeding ground for microorganisms.

The warm, moist corners of a person’s mouth make an excellent place for pathogens like Candida albicans (sometimes called yeast or thrush) and bacteria like staphylococcus aureus to grow.

This alone is one of the biggest issues when it comes to what causes angular cheilitis.

These microorganisms are always in the environment around us: Candida is present in some 50% of all people with healthy mouths.

For many people, it’s a combination of factors that lead to the disease. Other factors can contribute to the disease including nutritional deficiencies, harsh weather, or taking certain medications.

Poor Nutrition

what causes angular cheilitis

 Angular cheilitis has been linked to nutritional deficiencies its, particularly inadequate amounts of riboflavin (Vitamin B) and zinc levels, as well as inadequate stores of iron.

These deficiencies may be either primary (i.e. arising from poor vitamin and mineral intake) or secondary (i.e. arising from a disease process).

Among the diseases that causes angular cheilitis to develop are Crohn’s Disease, diabetes mellitus, Sjogren’s syndrome, iron deficiency anemia, and HIV.

Even people who suffer from anorexia or bulimia have been known to develop angular cheilitis.

As for medications, the most often cause of angular cheilitis is the use of Accutane. This is a popular acne medication which is known to dry the skin.

Harsh Weather


 A less severe form of angular cheilitis is known as chapped lips – lips that crack and peel due to the evaporation of moisture during cold weather conditions. People most often develop chapped lips during the winter.

Harsh weather conditions can also contribute to angular cheilitis. Prolonged sun and wind exposure can also lead to drying and irritation of the lips. This in turn can cause people to lick their lips more often.

Poor Dentition

 what causes angular cheilitis

 Seniors are one of the groups most at risk for developing angular cheilitis because of issues arising from their teeth.

Ill-fitting dentures, missing teeth, or teeth that have worn down through excessive grinding over the years cause the corners of the mouth to dry out and become inflamed. That inflammation then can be colonized by Candida organisms.

Seeking Treatment

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If you believe you have developed angular cheilitis, seek treatment for it as soon as possible.

Because if you do nothing, the sores will continue to grow and crack, and they can easily become infected as well by other opportunistic microorganisms.

If left untreated, the condition will persist for months, continuing to cause you pain and embarrassment. You don’t have to suffer through angular cheilitis. There are angular cheilitis treatments available.

Take advantage of what is available and before you know it, your angular cheilitis problem will be history.


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