Forty Winks and Drool – Can it Lead to Perleche?

Sleep can restore and repair our bodies, improve cognitive function, including memory, curb inflammatory proteins, lower stress, and make us just feel better. But one downside of shuteye is that drooling can more readily occur and this unintentional spill of saliva from open mouth can cause irritant contact dermatitis and other skin conditions. As our website focus is on perleche the question arises, “Can drooling cause angular cheilitis?”

Saliva is a Breeding Ground for …?

This leads to another question, “What is in saliva?” (I’ll answer that question with another question.) Did you know that saliva is comprised of 98% water? It also contains electrolytes, antibacterial compounds and enzymes to help break up food. So far, so good as there is nothing yet to cause angular cheilitis. However, aside from healthy, friendly bacteria, the mouth and saliva are perfect breeding grounds for a variety of germs.

Think about it: Our mouths present a warm, dark, and comforting environment for germs and microbes to thrive. Food can easily get caught in the cavernous nooks and crannies, and decompose, providing a feeding frenzy for hungry bacteria. Such bacteria become empowered and multiply just waiting to wreak havoc on teeth or even neighboring skin if they get the chance.

So the logical conclusion is that because our saliva can host unfriendly bacteria and fungi, drooling can cause and spread angular cheilitis. If just licking lips can spur perleche, drooling can easily flood surrounding skin with an invasion of different microorganisms that can also lead to cheilitis.

Other Causes of Drooling

Of course, the overflow of saliva may not only occur during sleep. Drooling is more apt to happen when folks wear dentures, especially poor-fitting ones, or are devoid of teeth, or have excessive salivation. Drooling does not necessarily lead to angular cheilitis (individual response varies), but can present ideal conditions for its occurrence.

Other factors come into play, too, such as state of immunity and nutritional deficiencies, if applicable. But it makes sense why more seniors are apt to become angular cheilitis victims as they are more prone to drool than other segments of the population, and are more likely to have lower immune resistance.

Getting Rid of Droolling

If you’re drooling at the prospect of possibly getting rid of drool, consider changing sleep positions, propping your head up and sleeping on your back, draining your sinuses, and monitoring for sleep apnea. There are more extreme measures you can take, such as surgery, but any such options should be discussed with your doctor.

Final Word on the Connection Between Drooling and Angular Cheilitis

Unfortunately, drooling can stir up and exacerbate angular cheilitis, so try to contain saliva in the mouth, if at possible, and wipe off any residual saliva from the corners of your mouth, ensuring a clean, antiseptic environment.