Pathology Post: Angular Cheilitis

What is angular cheilitis?

Angular cheilitis is a red ulcerated lesion found on the corners of the mouth that can cause soreness and itch. Many times, angular cheilitis is due to a reduced vertical dimension of occlusion seen in older individuals and those that do not have dentition (though a reduced vertical dimension of occlusion is not always required). Angular cheilitis is often a result of the pooling of saliva near the folds of the mouth that cause the area to remain moist. This creates a habitable environment for fungus such as C. albicans, as well as bacteria such as S. auereus. The condition can be cleared by using topical ointments such as antifungals or antibacterials.

This lesion is one of the many forms that C. albicans appears in the oral cavity. The ‘classic’ presentation of candida is white patches that rub off – though there are other red variations including –

  • Acute erythematous candidosis
  • Chronic erythematous candidosis
  • Median rhomboid glossitis
  • Angular cheilitis


(n.d.) Red Ulcerated Lesions. Dr. Ali Pourian. A.T. Still Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health

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