Q. I suffer from occasional bouts of angular cheilitis. I find that applying Listerine to the sores helps to eliminate the problem within a few days.

A. Angular cheilitis is a fancy name for sore red cracks at the corners of the mouth. These may be triggered by a fungal infection, explaining why Listerine with its antifungal herbal oils might be helpful.
Other readers have reported benefit by treating sore corners of the mouth with Mentholatum or Vicks VapoRub, which have similar anti-fungal ingredients.
Another reader points out that occasionally this type of sore lip is due to a vitamin deficiency:

“Cracks in the corner of the mouth can be the result of lack of vitamin B as well. I would suggest that you have your doctor check your blood for this, it is a simple test. Many elderly people are low in B vitamins.”

Good advice. If there is no deficiency, however, one of these simple products might do the job.

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  1. CM

    Went to dermatologist for angular cheilitis. Said it was a fungus. Told me to use polysporin and lotrimin from over the counter. Lotrimin is an antifungal. Told to use 2x a day. Do not do any kissing till the problem is resolved.

  2. Nikki

    I suffered with angular cheilitis for a month, and it was miserable. I tried all sorts of medicated lip balms and washing the cracked corners of my mouth with mouthwash and rubbing alcohol. I also used athletes foot cream and even Monistat on the area (because it’s a yeast infection). It only seemed to get worse and more painful. I was going CRAZY, and it looked awful on top of that. It hurt to talk, eat or even smile. After visiting this part of the site, I decided to try a vitamin B complex with 588% riboflavin as a last resort. After three days I noticed a big difference, and five days later, the angular cheilitis has cleared up almost completely. I don’t know if it made a difference or not, but with the vitamin B, I also used coconut oil on my lips and tea tree oil on the corners, because it has antifungal properties. Almost a week later I can say that my symptoms have improved 95 percent. I hope this helps someone, because I was desperate. I plan on taking a daily multivitamin from now on, to prevent this from happening again.

  3. js

    I don’t have any immune problems and am a 31 yr old healthy individual. I however occasionally suffer from angular cheilitis (I’ve had 3 episodes in the last 3 or 4 years). I think I am just prone to this type of fungal infection.
    By sheer luck and experimentation I learned that applying (yellow) Listerine to the affected area helps clear up the problem within a few days. I once got a prescription anti fungal from a doctor and Listerine even outperformed that!!

  4. MH

    The Vitamin B complex will certainly be helpful. I have also found that some extra Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin) for a few days usually resolves the problem and then try to eat Whole Grain Bread regularly.

  5. Pauline

    I asked my dentist to prescribe something after suffering for a couple of weeks with cracks in the corner or my mouth. I had been using Aquaphor a medicated salve. He prescribed an anti fungal cream. So the Listerine and Vicks sound like a good answer. I take a multi B vitamin every day so don’t think I have a deficiency.

  6. fbl

    I found many years ago that a good vitamin B complex solved the problem.

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