Angular Cheilitis: Are Your False Teeth Making Your Lips Crack?

If you have sore areas of skin around the corners of your mouth that become cracked and painful, then you may be suffering from angular cheilitis. This condition is typically caused by a yeast infection that takes hold in folds of skin around your mouth that may be exposed to moisture. In some cases, your dentures may be at the root of the infection rather than a medical issue. How can you tell if your dentures are giving you angular cheilitis?

How Often Do You Wear Your False Teeth?

As a denture wearer, you already know that your dentures basically reinforce the structure of your mouth and jaw. As well as giving you replacement teeth, your dentures help keep things in their natural positions.

If you don't wear your dentures regularly, your face sags down slightly without the support of your teeth. This may allow the skin around your mouth to fall into folds. Moisture from your mouth may get into these folds and may create a breeding ground for cheilitis infections.

While it's important to wear your dentures, you should bear in mind that wearing them too much may also give you problems. Wearing dentures at night as well as during the day may put you at a higher risk of fungal infections including angular cheilitis.

How Well Do Your False Teeth Fit?

Even if you wear your dentures, they may still be the cause of cheilitis infections if they don't fit as well as they should. While your dentures were exactly fitted to your mouth when you had them made, they may lose some of this fit over time.

Once you have your natural teeth taken out, the bones and gums in your mouth may change shape over the years, and your dentures may not be the right size any longer. If your dentures aren't the right size and shape to give support, you may find that you develop deeper folds of skin around your mouth. Again, these folds may become a happy home for cheilitis infections.

How to Avoid Denture-based Cheilitis

While creams and medications may cure your cheilitis, you may suffer from ongoing problems unless you fix the source of your cracking. If you think that your dentures are the problem, try the following tips:

  • Get into the habit of wearing your dentures during the day but take them out overnight.
  • If you don't wear your dentures because they are uncomfortable or if you feel that they don't fit as well as they did, ask your dentist to assess the fit of your false teeth. You may be able to improve the fit and comfort of your dentures by having them relined to match the current shape of your mouth. Your dentist will also be able to advise you on whether you need a new set of teeth.

Tip: If you have minor cracking at the side of your mouth, ask a chemist for advice on creams you can apply to fix the problem. If the cracking is particularly painful or doesn't respond to creams, you may want to make an appointment to see your doctor to get medication to deal with the infection.