Just how much are you at risk of developing Angular Cheilitis because of your dentures? Consider this figure — about 80 percent of Angular Cheilitis cases are in associated with those who wear dentures—that’s how significant the relation is between Cheilitis and dentures. So the answer to that question would be—yes, you’re very likely to develop Angular Cheilitis if you’re not careful.
Of course, that is not to say that children and adults who don’t wear dentures are not at risk of contracting Angular Cheilitis. This is an atopic disease that can affect children and adults alike and is also attributed to a wide range of causes. It would be highly beneficial for you to read on to learn its symptoms, treatment, and its main causes, so as to know what preventive measures to take in order to avoid it.
What is Angular Cheilitis?
Before diving into what causes Cheilitis, it’s first important to recognize its symptoms. Angular Cheilitis is described as a reddish inflammation that’s formed around the corners (angles) of the mouth. It’s also characterized by severe skin dryness, making it painful and difficult to move the mouth freely. And yes, it may affect everyone but it mostly affects the elderly.
What are the Main Causes of Angular Cheilitis?
This disease is commonly caused by three major factors: nutritional deficiencies, infection and denture-related problems.
Deficiencies in B vitamins, iron, zinc, and Folic Acid may cause Angular Cheilitis. People who have low immunity can also easily contract this disease, as they are more prone to several kinds of bacterial and fungal infection. Our mouths are exposed to a wide range of bacteria every day and having a low immune system would increase being vulnerable to this disease.
Other predisposed conditions also include stress and malnutrition, as well as some medical conditions such as people with sensitive skin, and genetic disorders such as down syndrome. People who have these issues are also predisposed in acquiring Angular Cheilitis and would have to take extra care in order to prevent it.
What’s the Connection Between Angular Cheilities and Dentures?
The connection between Angular Cheilitis and dentures are caused by two major factors in people who wear dentures: ill-fitting dentures and improper cleaning and maintenance of the denture.
Having ill-fitting dentures could cause a collapse bite that leads to overclosure of the mouth. Because of this the skin folds would cause friction and produce saliva, making that area the perfect moist environment for bacterial infection (mostly the Candida Albicans bacteria).
Not maintaining proper cleaning of dentures also contributes to the strong correlation between Cheilitis and dentures. Remember that dentures, when worn, are always kept moist and it serves as the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to build up. The thing is, this build up is not at all visible to the naked eye, which is why some people tend to overlook the importance of cleaning dentures.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Denture-Related Cheilitis?
For one, dentures should have the proper fit. If you feel as though your dentures seem to be loose fitting, it’s time to see your dentist to have them properly adjusted. Elderly people should be more aware of this matter, especially with how they’re more vulnerable to contracting diseases and infections.
Proper cleaning and general maintenance of dentures should also be properly observed. It’s as easy as rinsing them regularly, especially after eating, and brushing them daily, as well as leaving them soaked in a denture solution overnight. Also, make sure that you have cleaned the insides of your mouth before putting them on and after removing them. Regular dental checkups are also highly advised and you can very well ask your dentist to have them properly cleaned for you as well.
If you intend to have them properly cleaned at home, you can easily find denture solutions online starting with highly recommended brands such as Polident and Efferdent. But just to make sure, you might also want to check with your dentist as to what brand would be suitable for you. However, be mindful not to use abrasive cleaning agents such as hot water, hard-bristled brushes, whitening toothpastes and products with bleach.
Proper Treatment of Angular Cheilitis
Cheilitis normally takes some time to heal and the most that can be done to hasten the healing is to apply topical ointments and to take in antibiotics and anti-fungal medicine.
The goal is to decrease the inflammation and eliminate the infection. Creams and ointments with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties are often used topically over the affected area. Corticosteroids with low strength can also be used at the same time as anti-fungal agents.
In addition to taking in antibiotics in relation to Cheilitis and dentures, additional nutritional supplements containing Vitamin B, Iron, and Zinc would also be beneficial. However, oral medication should come with the professional recommendation of a doctor, especially for elderly people with other existing medical conditions.
During this time of healing, it would help to not overexert movements of the mouth and as much as possible keep it to a minimum in order to not exasperate the lesions and inflammation.
Proper Awareness is the Key to Prevention
We’ve learned just how much people are at risk to contract Angular Cheilitis. Although there is a strong correlation between Angular Cheilitis and dentures, even other people who have poor immune system can experience this painful and inconvenient disease.
However, it is a fact that people—particularly the elderly—who are using dentures are more likely to have this due to denture-related problems such as ill-fitting dentures and improper cleaning leading to bacterial infection. It also doesn’t help that as we age, our immune system weakness as well, making older people more susceptible to bacteria.
In all of these cases, the best defense against Angular Cheilitis is proper awareness—and regular dental check-ups. Observe proper diet and if possible, be mindful of getting proper nutritional value from food and vitamins. As for those who wear dentures, observe proper maintenance and don’t neglect “off-feelings” such as if you feel as though your denture doesn’t fit properly.
Be mindful, be aware. As with any other diseases and illnesses out there, it wouldn’t do anyone any good to be lazy about their health. All these information can serve as your starting ground—at least when it comes to the prevention of Angular Cheilitis.