If you’re experiencing bizarre, painful cracks at the corners of your mouth, it’s important to figure out what’s causing them before treating it naturally. So, if you haven’t already, read this article first, and then come back to this one.
Angular cheilitis (also called perleche and angular stomatitis), is a chronic inflammatory condition that can be caused by a number of factors.
It is not a stand-alone disease, but rather a symptom that something is going wrong with your digestive system, immune system, or both.
Here’s what you can do to heal angular cheilitis naturally:
- Gluten Elimination Diet
Many people are sensitive to gluten yet their blood test results come up negative. If you have perleche, especially if you notice other symptoms like fatigue, chronic diarrhea, muscle aches, and brain fog, a gluten elimination diet may prove helpful. Give up gluten completely for 6 to 8 weeks. (Make sure you read the labels carefully on condiments and medication bottles, too.)
Also, add more fermented foods to your diet such as yogurt, kimchi, and kefir. These foods help build up the good bacteria in your gut, which will help reduce inflammation and regulate your immune system.
If your symptoms disappear on the gluten elimination diet and come back when you reintroduce it, gluten sensitivity is a likely cause. Talk with a naturopathic physician about how to heal your gut and eat a gluten-free diet for maximum nutritional benefit.
- Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. It also contains compounds such as anthraquinones, dihydroxyanthraquinones, saponins, which have been suggested to have direct antimicrobial activity.
For best results, put a piece of fresh aloe in the fridge to get it cool. Using clean, freshly-washed hands, split open the leaf and put the gel on the affected areas. Leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with water.
- Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw, organic apple cider vinegar is rich in malic acid, which gives it its powerful anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-bacteriala properties. It is also a good source of probiotics, which can help to strengthen your digestion and reduce inflammation
According to a study published in the Journal of Food Science, “The organic acids in vinegar and mainly acetic acid pass into cell membranes of microorganisms leading to bacterial cell death.”
Using a cotton swab, place a drop or two of ACV on the affected areas.
Warning: Apple cider vinegar may sting.
You can choose to leave it on or rinse it gently with cool water after it’s been on for several minutes.
If you’d rather not rinse it off, but still want to reduce the stinging sensation, massage a bit of raw, organic coconut oil over the areas where you used the ACV.
- Organic Lemon Juice
The juice from an organic lemon also has strong antibacterial properties. To use organic lemon juice to treat angular cheilitis, soak your lips in a shallow bowl of warm water for one minute to open your pores and soften your skin.
Warning: Lemon juice may sting.
Then, using clean fingers or a cotton swab, dab a drop of lemon juice onto the affected area(s).
Massage the area for two minutes (or as long as you can comfortably handle). Rinse and dry your lips. Do this every four to five hours for best results.
- Coconut Oil
The Natural Medicine Journal boasts coconut oil as an effective natural treatment for skin infections.
Raw, organic coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids include lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid that will have an antimicrobial effect on the mouth infection.
Coconut oil works by disrupting bacterial, viral, and fungal cell membranes, leading to cellular death while protecting and healing your skin.
For best results, use a jar of coconut oil that has not yet been opened. Wash your hands thoroughly, dip your finger into the coconut oil, and gently massage the affected area.
(Be sure to wash your hands before and after application to avoid re-infecting the site.)
- Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is one of the most effective natural antifungal agents in the world. It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties. To use tea tree oil to treat angular cheilitis, mix a one drop of the essential oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or jojoba oil.
Warning: Do not use tea tree oil without a carrier oil, or it will burn your skin.
Using clean fingers, massage the mixture onto the affected area(s). If the tea tree oil is too strong, add more of the carrier oil directly into the corners of your mouth using a different finger or a cotton swab.
Note: Always wash your hands thoroughly after using tea tree oil as you do not want to accidentally get it into your eyes!
- Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
The most inexpensive natural remedy for angular cheilitis is a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. The baking soda will dry out the mouth sores while the hydrogen peroxide attacks the bacteria that causes them.
Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a paste and place it on the affected area(s) with a clean finger or cotton swab. Leave the mixture on overnight and rinse it off with cold water in the morning.
These natural remedies should help ease and soothe the discomfort of angular cheilitis until you and your doctor can discover and treat the root cause.