What Causes Corners of Mouth to Crack?

Exercise Daily – Are you wondering about what causes corners of mouth to crack? We have compiled this comprehensive guide for you!

Dental and dermatological offices alike witness many cases of patients with cracked lips and mouths on a regular basis. Angular cheilitis, often known as perleche, is an infection of the mouth. 

“Perleche” is derived from the French word for “lecher,” which means “lick,” and is defined by the patient’s tendency to lick excessively the afflicted region. Redness and cracking of the skin at the corners of the lips are further symptoms of this illness.

Most of the time, the cause is “local,” which means that it comes from inside or around the mouth. Systemic (bodily) illnesses can also predispose to perleche, but this is rare. 

It’s possible to have an infection if the corners of the mouth are damaged or broken. Candida albicans, a kind of yeast, is the most prevalent source of infection.

Also Read: How to Heal a Bitten Lip Inside? Top 8 Mouthwash Solutions!

What is Angular Cheilitis?

An inflammatory skin ailment known as angular cheilitis is common. One or both of your mouth’s corners may be affected, resulting in itchy, cracked sores. Angular cheilitis is typically not life-threatening, despite its discomfort.

The terms angular stomatitis and perleche are also used to describe angular cheilitis. Cold sores and angular cheilitis are often misunderstood. Cold sores, on the other hand, are the result of a herpes virus. Angular cheilitis is not contagious. However, a cold sore can be contagious.

Now, let’s take a look at what causes corners of mouth to crack?

Who Is At Risk of Developing Angular Cheilitis?

The extremely old and the very young are more likely to be affected by angular cheilitis. Elderly persons with dry mouth corners may have saggy skin around their mouth corners or use dentures. Using pacifiers, sucking on a thumb, and drooling can cause discomfort in a baby’s mouth.

What Causes Corners of Mouth to Crack?

What Causes Corners of Mouth to Crack?

Having saliva in the corners of the mouth creates dryness. Angular cheilitis can occur if the skin in this area is very dry. Dry skin might split open over time. The presence of bacteria or fungus inside a crack might lead to an infection or an outbreak of inflammation.

In addition, to dry, cracked lip corners, the following can lead to angular cheilitis:

  • Atopic dermatitis or eczema.
  • Dentures that don’t fit.
  • Drooling during sleep.
  • Fungal or yeast infections in the mouth, such as thrush.
  • Misaligned teeth.
  • Skin allergies.
  • Sucking on a thumb or a pacifier.
  • Wearing a face mask.

It is possible that any of these four causes might be to blame for your dry lips and cracked mouth.

The environment

Inevitably, some weather conditions may cause havoc with your skin. This condition can be caused by a combination of factors, including extreme cold, dry indoor heating, exposure to strong wind, and even sun damage. 

As a result, it is important to protect oneself from these severe circumstances and to take proper care of your lip region. The environmental factors can be a culprit behind what causes corners of mouth to crack.


Skin dehydration occurs when the body is dehydrated. Keeping an eye on your water intake is critical if you tend to perspire or urinate excessively. Because dehydration can lead to angular cheilitis, you should drink plenty of water.

Dry mouth

Angular cheilitis is more prone to occur if your mouth feels dry and not enough saliva is generated. Furthermore, excessive licking of the lips can lead to the formation of cracked corners.


Acquired angular cheilitis is linked to low blood iron levels, according to research from the College of Family Physicians in Canada. 

Because of this, a healthy iron intake is essential. Additionally, angular cheilitis is connected to vitamin B and zinc deficiencies. Consequently, be certain that you aren’t lacking in any essential nutrients.

To avoid angular cheilitis, we’ll look at some of the things you can do:

  • Make sure your lips and face are properly moisturized when the weather is chilly and dry. Petroleum jelly or an excellent moisturizer and you can also use a lip balm. This acts as a barrier to moisture loss, keeping your skin healthy and supple.
  • Additionally, it’s critical to maintain hydration year-round, but it’s especially critical in the winter when people tend to drink less water due to the cold. In addition, please refrain from licking your lips.
  • However, if the cracks persist despite your efforts, you should consult a physician to determine the root problem.

Let’s take a look at what causes corners of mouth to crack?


Treatments such as chemotherapy and the acne medicine isotretinoin, both of which can induce skin irritation, can also contribute to angular cheilitis-causing dryness.

Autoimmune conditions

Sjogren’s syndrome, which is an autoimmune disease, is also characterized by xerostomia as a symptom. 

Immune alterations that contribute to an increased incidence of angular cheilitis can be triggered by other autoimmune conditions, such as lupus, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.

Down syndrome

Muscular hypotonia, or a lack of muscle tone, may be a factor in this connection. Down syndrome can cause persons with the condition to keep their lips open and protrude their tongues, aggravating the corners of their mouths.


Angular cheilitis is more common in the elderly because of these risk factors. For example, the elderly are more likely to suffer from dry mouth. 

Since of this, it is more difficult for individuals to fight off infections because their immune systems are weaker than normal. Age-related changes around their lips provide an additional danger.

Cracked Mouth Corners: 5 Quick Ways to Heal Them

Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum Jelly

Buy on Amazon

Using petroleum jelly is the quickest and easiest approach to mend cracked lip corners, especially if the corners are bleeding and bursting open constantly.

Because petroleum jelly works as a barrier against future infection and helps your body to begin the healing process, it’s a good idea to always have some on hand.

Since we are talking about what causes corners of mouth to crack, it is also important to know its cure too.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil

Buy on Amazon

Coconut oil can be used if you don’t have petroleum jelly on hand or the cracks aren’t too serious. Despite the fact that petroleum jelly will keep your skin safe, it does not have any healing qualities. 

Antimicrobial properties of coconut oil protect your skin from illness while also combating fungus and germs.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Buy on Amazon

Aloe Vera is a mix between coconut oil and petroleum jelly, and if you have a plant on hand, you may apply it to the corners of your lips and anticipate solid results. If you’re looking for a product that’s both therapeutic and protective of your skin, this one is for you.


Good bacteria can fight against harmful bacteria. If you apply yogurt to the corners of your mouth on a daily basis, the living and active microorganisms in the yogurt will start to work during your illness. The best part is that you don’t have to wear it all night long.

See a Physician

After all else fails and the infection returns, consult your dermatologist for an antifungal or antibiotic cream to wipe it out and save it in your medicine cabinet for future use.

Consume vitamin B-rich foods

Incorporating extra vitamin B-rich foods into your diet if you have mouth cracks will help your skin recover and combat any underlying illness. There are several ways that Vitamin B might cause your mouth to crack, including infections and poor skin care.

So, all these treatments can help you with what causes corners of mouth to crack.

Prevent Angular Cheilitis

Angular cheilitis can be prevented with proper cleanliness and skin care. Your mouth’s delicate skin should be kept moist and free of irritation in order to prevent the growth of germs and yeast.

The corners of your mouth can be protected against saliva by using petroleum jelly or coconut oil. Regular use of lip balm can help keep lips from becoming chapped and dry.

A dry mouth can cause excessive salivation, so be sure to avoid it if at all possible.

Your doctor may be able to prescribe oral appliances or fillers to alleviate your angular cheilitis if the creases in your mouth are the root cause.

FAQs – What Causes Corners of Mouth to Crack?

How do you get rid of cracks in the corner of your mouth?

Swelling and discomfort in the cracked corners of the mouth might be relieved with antifungal treatments or topical steroids. Protecting your mouth with lip balm or petroleum jelly may keep it hydrated and nourished.

What deficiency causes cracks in the corner of the mouth?

An iron deficiency and zinc and B vitamins such as riboflavin and B12 are to blame. It’s normal for vegetarians to be deficient in iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. The same is true if you aren’t getting enough protein, which is necessary for developing immunity.

Why do the corners of my mouth keep cracking?

The corners of your mouth become clogged with saliva. Skin in the region might split when it dries. You can soothe your skin by licking your lips often. It’s easy for fungus to develop and flourish in the corners of your mouth because of the warmth and moisture.

What is the fastest way to cure angular cheilitis?

As a result of its antimicrobial characteristics, baking soda helps alleviate symptoms. 

Unflavored and unscented lip balms and moisturizers, such as petroleum jelly or virgin coconut oil, can help treat an infection on the lips. Apply a thin slice of cucumber to the hurting spot and gently massage it in.

What foods cause angular cheilitis?

The most prevalent cause of cheilitis is a vitamin deficit. Vitamin B2 deficiency reduces energy output by slowing fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism. You can reverse cheilitis by increasing the intake of B2 and consuming foods like eggs, milk, and lean meat.

If you are still unsure of what causes corners of mouth to crack, consult your doctor.

Can stress cause cracks in corner of mouth?

Your immune system might be affected by stress, which can contribute to the development of angular cheilitis in certain people. 

Vitamin and mineral shortages can not cause angular cheilitis, but they can have a significant influence on the immune system, making us more susceptible to infection.

What does a B12 deficiency tongue look like?

The soreness and redness of the tongue are further symptoms of a B12 deficiency. Glossitis can make the tongue look smooth because of the swelling it causes.

Can dehydration cause angular cheilitis?

Cheilitis can also result from dehydration. The lack of sufficient liquids in the body can appear in cracked and dry corners of the mouth. We already know that saliva is a bacterial and viral hub.

How long does it take for cracked mouth corners to heal?

Cheilitis, like cold sores, may be quite painful, and they can appear in the corners of your mouth. Depending on the therapy, it might take anywhere from two to three weeks or more to recover if it affects both sides of your mouth.

What kills angular cheilitis?

Most cases of mild angular cheilitis may be treated with topical treatments like petroleum jelly or Neosporin to seal out excess moisture and suffocate the aerobic bacteria. 

An antifungal or antibacterial ointment may be necessary for treating an infectious cause of cheilitis, such as a fungal or bacterial infection.

To know what causes corners of mouth to crack, you should take a closer look at the symptoms.


The saying “prevention is better than cure” couldn’t be more true when it comes to oral health. As a result, it is best to be informed and take the required precautions to prevent cheilitis from developing. 

Make a serious effort to break the habit of often biting or licking your lips (or both). You should avoid the long-term usage of lipsticks and lip liners. 

Vitamin A, vitamin B12, and zinc are all essential nutrients that are present in fruits and vegetables. You may go a long way by paying attention to what you put in your mouth and what you consume.