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Angular cheilitis - Oral Mucosal Lesion
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Angular cheilitis - Oral Mucosal Lesion

Contributors: Annie Chen BS, Carl Allen DDS, MSD, Sook-Bin Woo MS, DMD, MMSc, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Angular cheilitis (perlèche) is a chronic inflammatory condition of the oral commissures that may be complicated by a candidal or staphylococcal superinfection. The affected areas are generally slightly painful. There may be concomitant intraoral candidiasis.

Angular cheilitis affects 0.7% of individuals in the United States and is most commonly seen in children and adults aged 30-60 years.

Individuals who wear dentures that do not adequately support the facial musculature are prone to developing angular cheilitis. Patients will have accentuated folds at the corners of the mouth, leading to wicking of the saliva onto what is normally dry skin. The moist keratin acts as substrate that encourages fungal and bacterial growth.

Those who have undergone head and neck radiation, and those with diabetes mellitus (type 1 or type 2), immunosuppression, and depletion of normal oral flora (from prolonged antibiotic use) are prone to developing oral candidiasis, including angular cheilitis.

Angular cheilitis is also seen in the setting of iron; vitamin B2, B3, B6, or B12; zinc; and folate deficiency, although these represent a much less common cause of angular cheilitis.

Angular cheilitis is reported to be more common in individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis), orofacial granulomatosis, and Sjögren syndrome.

Related topics: actinic cheilitis, cheilitis, exfoliative cheilitis, granulomatous cheilitis


K13.0 – Diseases of lips

266429005 – Angular cheilitis

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Last Reviewed:08/16/2023
Last Updated:09/20/2023
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Patient Information for Angular cheilitis - Oral Mucosal Lesion
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Angular cheilitis - Oral Mucosal Lesion
A medical illustration showing key findings of Angular cheilitis : Commissure of lips, Lip scaling
Clinical image of Angular cheilitis - imageId=2172451. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'Fissured pinkish and brown papules at the oral commissures.'
Fissured pinkish and brown papules at the oral commissures.
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