cracking at corners of mouth

  1. Hi fellow nurses--
    My 15-year-old otherwise healthy daughter keeps have recurring bouts of cracking at the corners of the mouth. The areas become slightly swollen and reddened. She is using "carmex", but it doesn't seem to help. I thought that she might have a vitamin deficiency, but she has now been on a vitamin supplement for several months, and the cracking just reappeared. She is a slightly nervous child, who breaks out in "hives" at stressful times. Could this be related? Do you guys know of any remedies?
    I would really appreciate your input!
    Thanks! Kim
  2. Visit Kim-rn profile page

    About Kim-rn

    Joined: Dec '99; Posts: 21


  3. by   live4today
    My advice: Take your daughter to see a dermatologist. He/she should be able to answer that question for you, but it sounds like something viral that will continue to appear certain times of month. Is this true? Is there a monthly pattern to this? Also........I'm NOT asking you to answer this question here.....keep it private.....but just for you to think about your daughter sexually active that you know of? :kiss
  4. by   indeed
    That sounds like something I get all the time...I have always attributed it to being a mouth breather when I sleep. The only thing that has helped is puting a petroleum jelly on the corners of me mouth before I go to bed. DON'T use Carmex...I tried that, and it just made it worse (too irritating, maybe).

  5. by   nurse deb
    If you're going to take her anywhere, do like cheerfuldoer says and take her to a good dermatologist. That's their specialty area and they'll be able to take care of her. They may give her a mild corticosteroid cream to use a couple times a day, I don't know. I do know that the skin on the face is thinner and they only use mild creams sparingly. Things like Aclovate cream or ointment. Let us know how she does....

    Does she lick the area alot? If she does, have her stop that too.

    Good Luck! Deb
  6. by   Heather333
    I remember from school that cracking of lips and corners of the mouth could be a symptom of anemia. I looked it up on WebMD and this is what came up:

    Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia


    The body can potentially store enough folic acid to last 2 to 6 months. However, anemia can develop within weeks of a shortage of folic acid (folate).

    Mild anemia may not produce any symptoms. The following are some common symptoms that may develop, especially as the anemia progresses:

    Pale appearance (pallor)
    Lack of appetite and weight loss
    Less common symptoms include:

    Abdominal pain.
    Ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
    Slight fever.
    Sore, smooth tongue.
    Cracked lips, especially at the corners of the mouth.
    Shortness of breath with exertion.
    Rapid or irregular heart rate.
    Chest pain.

    Maybe you should talk with her pediatrician and see what s/he has to say.

    I hope this helps.

  7. by   SusanRN2004
    I found this on WebMd ---

    Mouth Problems and Toothache (Noninjury)

    Significance of cracking, splitting, or chapping at the corners of the mouth or lips

    Lips commonly become chapped from harsh weather, such as drying winds or icy cold or very hot temperatures. Often, home treatment can be used to protect and soften your lips, allowing them to heal. It may be tempting to lick your lips to moisten them when they are chapped. Try not to do this because it is likely to make your symptoms worse.

    Cracks and splits in the corner of your mouth may be caused by:

    Licking your lips.
    Biting the corners of your mouth.
    Thumb-sucking in children.
    Overclosure of your mouth if you don't have teeth or dentures.
    Cracking and splitting at the corner of your mouth might mean you may have angular cheilitis, a condition that can be caused by:

    Infections. Fungal infections are the most common, but viral or bacterial infections can also occur.
    Nutritional deficiency of vitamin B.
    Treatment for cracking and splitting depends on the cause and can include antifungal and antibiotic medication, vitamins, construction of dentures for persons without teeth, and protecting lips with ointments or moisturizers.
  8. by   adrienurse
    That's it Heather. Classic sign of vitamin/nutritional deficiancy. Remember reading that when I was studying for my Geri cert.
  9. by   Kim-rn
    Thank you all so much! It may be anemia, because she is pale & complains of fatigue, though her lifestyle is quite active. This problem has reoccured 4-5 times over the last few years. It's always at the corners of the mouth only, and there is no cold sore/fever blister type lesion. I'll have some bloodwork done.
    Thanks again!
  10. by   Hidi74
    See if you can find BURTS BEES lip balm. It would be great for it. Also great for just regular chaped lips. You can find it at most health food or whole foods markets. Also at Cracker Barrell. Good Luck !!!
  11. by   zumalong
    Kimrn. I had this for several years. It seemed to start after I had braces placed on my teeth. Once braces came off it would come and go. Turns out it was fungal infection from irritation (stretching my big mouth even bigger than usual). Dentist gave me antifungal and wala, no more cracks at corners of my lips.

    Start out small before you have her go through multiple tests. i would see dentist first. Or even get some antifungal and see if this helps.
  12. by   kaycee
    I agree that she should be checked by her pediatrician. In the meantime Neosporin has helped soothe and heal cracked corners in my mouth over the years.
    Good luck!
  13. by   mother/babyRN
    This happened to me and I was told I had a vitamin B deficiency ( hct 32)...Took some supplements and it cleared up within 2 weeks. Never came back. Good luck.
  14. by   ResearchRN
    Angular Chelitis

    Often mistaken for cold sores, this condition is actually a common fungal infection.

    Angular Chelitis

    Cause - Fungus, candida albicans, which is responsible for most forms of intraoral fungal (yeast) infections.

    Characteristics - Cracked fissures appear at the corners of the mouth. Tender tissues are often surrounded by flaky skin. Infection is mild to moderately painful depending on severity.

    Triggers - Deep folds at corners of the mouth due to bite collapse, dentures, etc predispose infections but are not necessary. Opportunistic infection occurs when skin fissures due to trauma, weather, habits, and the like. Reduced oral immunity due to illness, diabetes, medications, HIV, etc. can make you more susceptible as does an intraoral fungal infection. The condition is often aggravated by patient licking lips attempting to soothe symptoms, inoculating the lesion with even more fungus.

    Treatment - Antifungal/ anti-inflammatory ointment (Mycolog II) quite effective, healing occurs in a few days. Patient must learn not to lick lips when corners crack, avoiding inoculation. Denture wearers often benefit from a new denture, which can open the bite thus eliminating the folds at the corners of the mouth.