Angular Cheilitis Causes

Learn about the various angular cheilitis causes such as certain nutritional deficiencies and some mechanical problems of the mouth.

Although angular cheilitis causes are still in question, a lot of factors can be linked to the occurrence of this condition. It does not choose a particular age group and may affect both gender populations equally, most especially when in poor health.

Fungi and bacteria

One of the most common causes is due to infection including organisms such as Staphylococcus aureus, β – hemolytic streptococci, and Candida albicans.

Clinical observations have shown that after treatment with antibiotics and anti fungal, there is a noticeable reduction in the appearance of lesions, thus strongly suggesting its participation in its development.

Vitamin deficiencies

Other studies suggest that the initial onset of cheilitis is due to certain conditions in the body such as riboflavin (vit B2) and zinc deficiencies as well as iron deficiency anemia resulting from poor diet or malnutrition.

Bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa as a result both of malnutrition and as a side effect of vomiting can also trigger this disease.


Cheilitis is also seen to develop commonly in people who wear oral dentures. When muscles in the mouth are not supported or sustained well by dentures, they will be moist and will eventually spread in all the corners of the mouth and lips. This condition starts an infection.

Also, those using oral appliances such as orthodontic braces may suffer from a nickel-induced mouth sore.

The loss of vertical dimension due to loss of teeth is another cause allowing an over-closure of the mouth. An aggressive or too much use of dental floss and mouth washes also causes angular cheilitis.


Other causes include abnormal skin folds at the corners of the mouth and dry skin and hypersalivation. Hypersalivation or dribbling of saliva can cause eczematous cheilitis, a form of contact irritant dermatitis. It is also typically seen among HIV-infected patients and those with Down syndrome.


Cheilitis can result from using medications that dry the skin such as acitretin, a medication indicated for psoriasis and isotretinoin (Accutane), which is an analog of Vitamin A and is used to treat acne.

Uncommonly, this type is correlated with primary hypervitaminosis A, which may take place when large amounts of liver and cod liver oil or other fish oils are frequently taken. Hypervitaminosis A may occur too as a result of excessive intake of Vitamin A in the form of oral supplements.

In order to properly diagnose this condition, a detailed medical history should be taken including the occupation, dental status, and oral hygiene practices. Identifying the different angular cheilitis causes will definitely help in finding a treatment plan for the patient.