Although not a tongue problem, per se, angular cheilitis is a problem of the mouth. It is an inflammatory lesion at the corner of the mouth that often occurs bilaterally. Angular cheilitis (also called cheilosis) shows up as deep cracks or splits. In severe cases, the splits can bleed when the mouth is opened and shallow ulcers or a crust may form.
Studies have linked the initial onset of angular cheilitis with nutritional deficiencies, specifically vitamin B2 and iron. Zinc deficiency has also been associated with it.
Angular cheilitis occurs frequently in the elderly due to loss of teeth because of over-closure of the mouth. It can also be caused by medications which dry the skin.
Less severe cases occur when it is quite cold and is widely known as chapped lips. Children may lick their lips in an attempt to provide temporary relief only making it worse.
Angular cheilitis can also be cause by bacteria but is more commonly a fungal infection.
Treatment of this condition varies depending upon the cause. For those caused by a fungal infection using a topical antiseptic cream for several days is sufficient. For nutritional deficiencies, supplements are the easiest treatment.
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