Commonly presenting itself as cracks in the corners of your mouth, angular cheilitis is not severe but it certainly is painful. The main symptom of this condition consists of deep splits or cracks at the corners of the mouth which may bleed when the mouth is opened. The case can be severe and a crust or ulcers may form in combination with an infection of the Candida bacteria. What you should look for in determining if you have this condition is, along with the cracks in the corners of the mouth, redness or swelling and some tenderness of the area. Talking, smiling or eating can reopen the sores which makes them open to this candida yeast infection. There may be some itchiness from the continual cracking and then healing in the corners of your mouth.
The cause of angular cheilitis is as yet unknown, though many have suggested iron and vitamin deficiency as being related. Many times the causes seem to be as simple as having licked your lips too often, having been exposed to colder temperatures, wind-chapping or sun-chapping. Bottle feeding, pacifier or thumb sucking could contribute to this condition in young children and babies. The use of petroleum jelly, Aloe Vera, lip balms or lipstick could aid in keeping the condition at bay.
The lack of the vitamins riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), or cyanocobalamin (B12) in addition to an iron deficiency or an HIV-weakened immune system could be some causes of angular cheilitis. Acidic drinks and juices, such as lemonade or orange juice, may exacerbate the situation. If there is present a lack of the B vitamins, supplementation or just eating foods that are rich in B vitamins could be very beneficial. Some of these foods include leafy vegetables, cereals and dairy products for the B2 vitamin. And beans, rice, fish and eggs are good for vitamins B3 and B6.
For an accurate diagnosis, consult your doctor or dentist. Poor fitting dentures or the loss of teeth could lead to developing angular cheilitis.