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What causes a rash at the corner of the mouth?

Jonathan B. Levine, DMD
Prosthodontics
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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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.