What causes a rash at the corner of the mouth?

Jonathan B. Levine, DMD
Nighttime drooling can lead to a rash at the corners of the mouth, called perleche. Signs of perleche are usually redness, a bit of scaling, sometimes a fissure (or crack) in skin. Perleche is usually the result of a change in the folds of the mouth, which happens when there's a significant physical change, such as dentures or changes in weight. Weight gain results in a more robust face with a bit of a fold over the chin. And one consequence of significant weight loss is a sunken chin and a deeper fold. Even sun damage can do this, or the shifting of teeth from braces.

However it comes to be, once there's a bit of a crease in that mouth corner, drool can seep through. And once you have the tiniest fold there, you can accumulate moisture. Just a little fold is enough of a cover to create an environment for yeast to grown and prosper, and you can end up with a condition like a mini diaper rash, usually Candida. Derms describe it as "beefy red"; it's an angrier, more intense red than the pinkish red of usual irritation. It's initially treated with anti-yeast drug with a gentle cortisone cream. Your dentist should be able to help you with that.
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