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Angular Chelitis - is inflammation of one, or more commonly both, of the corners of the mouth. The inflammation is caused by yeast development in the area. The condition may show itself as deep cracks or splits in the lips, and the inflamed area may extend onto the skin of the face. In severe cases, the splits can bleed when the mouth is opened and shallow ulcers or a crust may form. It is a fungal disease, which is difficult to treat long term, and commonly recurs.

Angular chelitis has long been a curious disorder to treat. It is difficult to know the cause of the angular chelitis from individual to individual. The usual culprits include poor diet and nutrition (specifically Zinc or Vitamin B2 deficiencies) and certain medications. Angular chelitis can also be caused by the loss of vertical dimension of the teeth. Vertical dimension refers to the height of our teeth, which over time becomes less and less as our teeth wear or our dentures break down. This in combination with the aging process can lead to loose flabby skin at the corners of the mouth. These folds cause a warm, moist, dark environment in which, yeast flourishes.

Solutions For Angular Chelitis

There have been many home remedies tried in treating angular chelitis. These include vitamin regimens, tea tree oils, fish oil, and even a combination of grapefruit and vodka. None of these angular chelitis treatments work. The best approach is to eliminate the source of the issue. Dentists have long known that the loss in vertical dimension coupled with the flabby skin at the sides of the mouth are the triggers in most cases of angular chelitis. Angular Chelitis treatments include:

-Topical Antibiotic/Antifungal Treatment – monostat topical cream is a very effective solution. It needs to be applied externally only, and throughout the day for 2-3 weeks. In many cases this is a temporary solution at best as the root cause of the problem, the mouth folds in the corners, has not been solved. As the patient loses more tooth height, the folds of skin will increase in depth causing the angular chelitis to become harder and harder to treat.

-Increase Vertical Dimension – Once the yeast has been treated and eliminated, the only way to keep it from returning is to address the corner folds. This can be done in a variety of ways but the goal is to open the bite, or increase tooth height, to remove or lessen the presence of the folds around  the mouth. This can be achieved through the fabrication of a new denture (for denture wearers) or through the use of crowns to modify the bite.

-Use of Dermal Fillers – Luckily, we have a third option which many prefer. It includes the use of dermal fillers (such as Restylane and Juvederm) to replace lost volume in the tissues of the lower face. These dermal fillers are generally used in combination with Botox to relax the muscles and subsequently smooth out the wrinkles surrounding the mouth.

Angular Chelitis Conclusion

Angular chelitis can be a long term problem if not treated correctly. It can become quite uncomfortable and unsightly. Some may only be able to utilize the topical antifungal treatment, while others may be able to remove the problem permanently by increasing dental height with the aforementioned dental treatments. Fortunately, we have options at our disposal to treat this condition. You no longer need to be frustrated or embarrassed by this infection. See your dentist to see which treatment is best for you!

A toothbrush is our tool to keep our teeth clean and our breath fresh but, did you know, they can harbor bacteria that grow and diversify over time? The main recommendation has always been to change to a new toothbrush every six months mainly because the toothbrush bristles eventually lose their ability to clean your teeth gently and effectively. New research says that your handy toothbrush may be a haven for bacteria and other microorganisms. Not only do they harbor the bacteria but they can also transfer them to your loved ones with each use.

Tips To Keep ToothBrush As Clean As Possible

-Leave Brush Out In Open – This allows your toothbrush to air dry. Bacteria generally thrive and flourish in cool, humid, and dark places. This describes most bathrooms. Studies have shown that toothbrushes kept in a humid, dark environment retained almost 50% of the Herpes Simplex Virus (type 1) for almost a week. Further studies have shown that placing a toothbrush too close to the toilet bowl can introduce new types of bacteria every time you flush. Water particles are launched up to a 6 foot radius surrounding the toilet possibly contaminating your toothbrush and other bathroom items in the process.

Helpful Tip: Do not keep toothbrushes stored away inside your dark medicine cabinet. Consider leaving your toothbrush in a place with dry, well lit area like a nightstand.

-Change Brush Earlier If Possible – Replacing your brush more frequently to ward off progressive bacteria growths. The American Dental Association now recommends changing out your toothbrush every 2-3 months. A good tip might be to buy 12 new toothbrushes at the start of the year and replace the old one at the start of every new month. This makes it easy to remember and keeps your toothbrushes from becoming biology experiments.

Helpful Tip: Select toothbrushes with translucent bristles. Research has shown that these brush heads contain 50% less bacteria than the colored ones. It might be also helpful to use an anti bacterial mouth rinse to protect your mouth and also to rinse your toothbrush in after brushing to keep the numbers of bacteria down to a minimum.

-Nuke Your ToothBrush? – Some studies have advocated microwaving your manual toothbrushes (do not try this with an electric toothbrush!). This technique may eliminate several forms of bacteria and viruses that can form on tooth brush heads. This is an out of the box tip and has not been endorsed by anyone. People have been microwaving pacifiers for years to sterilize them. Just be careful not to ruin the integrity of the toothbrush in the process.

Helpful Tip: Never microwave a toothbrush with metal parts!

-UV (Ultraviolet Light) Sanitizers- There are many highly effective sanitizers which utilize UV light to kill  up to 99 % of toothbrush germs. This is especially helpful when a family member is sick and there is a stronger need to protect from cross contamination onto other toothbrushes.

Conclusion

Toothbrush maintenance and cleanliness is an often overlooked part of our oral hygiene regimen. We must remember how much bacteria we carry in our mouths on a daily basis. We certainly do not want to introduce any new germs to the mix that might be growing on our toothbrushes. Change a few habits and add some simple steps to help you and your family stay happy and healthy for many years to come.