Cracking at corners of the mouth


You want to be able to crack a smile — but you don’t want cracks around your smile. Unfortunately, that’s the problem if you have cheilosis.

Cheilosis, also known as angular cheilitis, is when skin cracks around the corners of your mouth. It is often caused by a yeast infection around the mouth that is called candidiasis.

The problem is most common in people who:

  • Wear dentures

  • Are obese

  • Have diabetes

  • Have a weak immune system

If You Have Dentures

You can prevent and manage this infection with good denture habits. Here are some tips:

  • Keep dentures free of food.

  • Brush dentures every day and soak them at night in a denture cleaner.

  • Remove dentures at nighttime.

Dealing with Dryness

A dry mouth can also add to the problem of candidiasis. To beat dryness:

  • Try to sip water more frequently.

  • Don’t smoke.

  • Avoid alcohol.

  • Ask your dentist or doctor about using a saliva substitute or another medication.

If you think you might have an infection around your mouth, see your dentist or doctor. Medicines that fight fungus can help treat the condition.



“Oral Candidiasis.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 25, 2013. Accessed 2013.

“Candidia Infection of the Skin.” Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, September 15, 2010. Accessed 2013.

“Mouth Sores.” Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. Accessed 2013.

“Taking Care of Your Teeth and Mouth.” National Institute on Aging, April 2011. Accessed 2013.

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