Simple Steps To Better Dental Health
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Featuring consumer information from Columbia School of Dental & Oral Surgery
Oral Health Made Simple: Your Prescription For Knowledge
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Step 1 Prevent ProblemsSimplestepsPrevent Problems
Step 2 Understand ConditionsSimplestepsUnderstand Conditions
Step 3 Explore TreatmentsSimplestepsExplore Treatments

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space placeholder.What Is It?.
space placeholder.Symptoms .
space placeholder.Diagnosis .
space placeholder.Expected Duration .
space placeholder.Prevention .
space placeholder.Treatment .
space placeholder.When To Call a Professional .
space placeholder.Prognosis .
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space placeholder.What Is It?
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Cheilosis is a painful inflammation and cracking of the corners of the mouth. It also is called cheilitis. It sometimes occurs on only one side of the mouth, but usually involves both sides.

Cheilosis is caused by a yeast (Candida) infection. The yeast grows easily in moisture that collects in skin folds at the corner of the mouth. Cheilosis occurs most often in people with ill-fitting dentures. The dentures may not separate the upper and lower jaws far enough. People who lick, rub or otherwise irritate the corners of the mouth also tend to develop cheilosis.

People with health disorders such as anemia, diabetes and immune deficiencies are particularly vulnerable.

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space placeholder.Symptoms
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  • Cracking
  • Painful inflammation
  • Sometimes weeping at the corners of the mouth
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space placeholder.Diagnosis
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Your dentist or physician first will look to see if your dentures fit well. He or she also will ask about your oral habits, such as licking the corners of your mouth. You may get blood tests to see if you have anemia or an immune deficiency. Your dentist also may test a smear or culture from the area for bacterial or yeast infections.

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space placeholder.Expected Duration
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Once the underlying cause is corrected, healing usually is quick.

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space placeholder.Prevention
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If you wear dentures, visit your dentist regularly to be sure they fit and support your face well. Avoid licking or rubbing the corners of your mouth.

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space placeholder.Treatment
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Treatment focuses on eliminating causes. You may need to stop oral habits or get better-fitting dentures. You may apply medicine directly to the affected area to treat an infection. This could be a steroid, antifungal or antibacterial medicine. For severe infections, you may need to take antifungal pills. This is most likely in people with underlying medical problems.

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space placeholder.When To Call a Professional
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If you have constant or repeat inflammation in the corners of your mouth, contact your dentist or physician.

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space placeholder.Prognosis
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Good, once the cause has been eliminated.

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