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Mouth Diseases

Crack on both sides of mouth

08/16/2007

Question:

Hi,

About 4 months ago, I caught a cold and got what I thought was a cold sore. One tiny crack developed on each side of my mouth and stayed sore for at least 3-4 weeks after I got sick. It`s been months now and even though the cracks don`t feel sore at all, they are still there and slightly pink. I`ve gotten these cracks before but they completely healed after about a week. I don`t know what is wrong and I`m concerned. I don`t have insurance and I can`t pay for a doctor`s visit, but I`m worried that it`s not going away. What do you suppose this is?  Thanks.

Answer:

What you are describing sounds like the condition known as angular cheilitis. Essentially, this name means inflammation of the corners of the mouth. Angular cheilitis can occur as the result of tooth loss due to problems like decay or gum disease, but it can also be seen in people with otherwise healthy mouths A chronic infection develops here that often involves both fungal microorganisms from the mouth and bacteria from the skin. Doctors sometimes describe this as a mixed infection. For this reason, it may be difficult to treat with medicines that are available without a prescription.

I would recommend that you try a triple-antibiotic ointment (available at any pharmacy) and apply it in a light film to the cracked areas three to four times a day. If you don’t see any improvement in 5 to 7 days, though, you will probably need to seek medical assistance to get rid of this annoying problem.

Good luck!

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Response by:

John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD
Clinical Professor of Pathology
Associate Dean of Dentistry Administration
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University