In pursuit to fully uncover angular cheilitis causes, my doctor explained that “cheilitis” refers to two thingsangular cheilitis causes

• cheilo or cheil—pronounced kī’lō, or kīl—means lips.
• itis means disease
• so cheilitis means itis of the cheilo, or a disease of the lips

My doctor explained that “angular” means in the angles, or on the corners. So “angular cheilitis” meant I had a disease at the corners of my lips.

Cutis a leading journal of dermatological medicine, describes cheilitis as follows:

• “Angular cheilitis (AC) is a common condition characterized by erythema, moist maceration, ulceration, and crusting at the corners of the mouth.”

Angular cheilitis causes attributed to . . .

My doctor explained that angular cheilitis is caused by an infection at the corners of the mouth. The infection itself is usually caused by a reaction when bacteria, and candida (a naturally symbiotic yeast) build up at the corners of the mouth.
Bacteria and yeasts live naturally in human saliva.

• They help us break down foods,
• prevent our teeth from rotting,
• and do all sorts of other nice things, for which we probably don’t give them enough credit.
The inside of our mouth is designed to coexist with the microbial creatures thriving in our saliva. But if these little guys go awol, get out of control, escape the mouth, and start living on the lips, well then they can create some serious problems. Angular cheilitis is caused by these microbes behaving badly. But what turns these natural microbes into painful pathogens?

The latest medical science on angular cheilitis causes . . .

Dermatologists have studied angular cheilitis causes.
The latest research on Angular cheilitis (AC) , has tried to identify the “common local factors that act alone and in combination to produce angular cheilitis.” Medical researchers examined the possible “irritant, allergic, and infectious causes” of angular cheilitis. The researchers found that:

• “Angular cheilitis was shown to be related to irritants in 22% of cases in one study”.
• By “irritant” the researchers meant naturally occurring enzymes in human saliva including: “amylase, maltase, lipase, catalase, sulfatase, hexokinase, carbonic anhydrase, and others.”
• “22% of cases in the United Kingdom, 25% of cases in Australia, and 34% of cases in Singapore had an allergic basis.”
• “Generalized cheilitis has been etiologcally related to regional allergic reactions to lipstick, toothpaste, acne products, cosmetics, chewing gum, mouthwash, foods, dental appliances, and denture substrates. . . ”

The latest medical science continued . . .

The researchers reviewed culture samples from the “fissured inflamed skin of angular cheilitis” The found that three microbial agents were responsible for causing angular cheilitis.
• Candida albicans—a a fungus commonly found on the skin or mucus membranes
• Staphylococcus aureus—is a bacteria that is normally present on human skin and in the human respitory sytem, an infection from staphylococcus aureus is commonly called a “staph infection”
• and/or b-hemolytic streptococci—another bacteria that is normally present in the human throat and skin, and in the digestive system

According to the researchers Candida albicans was responsible for “10% of cases”, Staphylococcus aureus was the most common pathogen associated with angular cheilits and had an “isolation rate of 63%.” B-Hemolytic streptococci was found in “8% (n5360) to 15% (n568) of patients.”

The cause is most likely a the straph bacteria, although there is a small chance that candida or steprococci could be the offending microbe. Only a doctor can determine which microbe is responsible for a particular case of cheilitis.

Resources and Suggested Articles:

Nlm.Nih.Gov
Health.Ny.Gov
Cdc.Gov
Cutis.com

While angular cheilitis causes may vary from person to person, any given individual must also try to figure out what led to the microbe’s development, such as stress or a weakened immune system.