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Angular cheilitis is a condition that causes redness and swelling in the corner of the mouth where the two lips meet and make an angle. It is also called angular stomatitis or perleche.

Your lips can feel dry and uncomfortable. Sometimes your lips and mouth can feel like they’re burning. You also might have a bad taste in your mouth.

Angular cheilitis
Image Credit: Wikipedia

If the irritation is strong, it can make it hard for you to eat. You may not get enough nutrients or you may lose weight.



  • Cracking at the corner of the lips
  • Swelling at the corner of the mouth
  • Pain at the commissure of the lips
  • Dry lips at the corner of the mouth



Fungal infection is the most common cause of angular cheilitis but can sometimes be caused by bacteria. When saliva gets trapped and build up in the corner of your mouth, the moist creates the perfect condition for fungus to grow and multiply, and cause infection.

Awareness that angular cheilitis may be associated with nutritional deficiency (B2, B12, folate, iron, zinc), vitamin overdose (hypervitaminosis A), anemia of chronic disease, or undiagnosed immunosuppressing systemic disorders (HIV, diabetes mellitus, primary immunodeficiency) will enable the physician to perform appropriate testing to diagnose any associated systemic disorders as directed by patient history.

Recurrent angular cheilitis in a patient without dentures should prompt suspicion for HIV or diabetes mellitus. In addition, patients with severe or chronic angular cheilitis should be monitored for weight loss or secondary nutritional deficiencies, which may develop as a consequence of decreased food intake due to pain from the condition.



Your doctor might swab the corners of your mouth and your nose and send it to a lab to see what kinds of bacteria or fungi might be there.



If the cause of angular cheilitis is fungal, your doctor might recommend antifungal cream for you; if it is caused by bacterial, antibacterial cream will be recommended. If your angular cheilitis is not caused by fungi or bacteria, your doctor might advise you put petroleum jelly on the affected areas. This prevent your lips from getting moist so that it can heal.



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