Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Small Health Clues: Cracks at the Corner of Your Mouth

They say a dentist can tell a lot about your overall health by examining your mouth. Likewise, an optometrist or ophthalmologist can also tell you about various aspects of your health by examining your eyes. In the meantime though, there are little signs we should pick up on to make us realize there may be a bigger issue we need to address.

But, it’s the little telltale signs that we may dismiss as irrelevant. But, simple things like ridges in your fingernails and cracks at the corner of your mouth can sometimes be the first warning sign you notice. So what about those painful cracks at the corner of your mouth?

Technically, cracks at the corner of your mouth are called angular cheilitis and there are a few causes:

- Infection – you know how you close your mouth and a little saliva gets stuck at the corners? Yeast loves saliva and therefore
fungal infections are the most common infections at this site. Watch how much you lick your lips and ask your physician
for an anti-fungal medicine. They work like a charm.

- Denture problems, missing teeth, ill-fitting braces – when your bite is thrown off, a number of other things are as well and
this can cause painful cracks.

- B vitamin deficiency –deficiency in one or more B vitamins can lead to issues in your mouth including a red tongue, a
swollen tongue, cracks at the corners of your mouth, and throat swelling.

- Iron deficiency – this is rarely the cause of cracks here but, iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency
worldwide. If you’ve ruled out all other causes, get your iron levels checked.

Even if something on your body seems minor though a bit annoying, get it checked out. There are many small cues to bigger problems.

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