Are you suffering from cheilitis or lip inflammation?

Cheilitis is a common issue that we dentists see on a regular basis. The vast majority of cases are minor can can be self limiting.

What is cheilitis?

Cheilitis means lip inflammation and most would just say chapped lips. There are many excellent images to help diagnosis an exact type of cheilitis online.

What are the different types of cheilitis?

There are several types of cheilitis but by far the most common that dentists will treat is angular cheilitis.

Cheilitis types

Angular cheilits

This is typically a fungal infection in the corner of the mouth. We treat it with a topical anti-fungal. Treatment is very successful and usually results are seen within a day or two. The etiology: 20% of the time, only bacteria. 20% of the time, only fungus. The remainder are a combination. Best treatment is something with both antifungal and antibacterial properties – clotrimazole. (Use 4x a day: once after meals and once before bed.) Clotrimazole is available OTC as an athlete’s foot cream. Advise use for two weeks, even after the lesion has visibly disappeared.

Eczematous Cheilitis

This is an allergy type of reaction.

Exfoliative cheilitis

This type is from constant picking and or chewing on the lip.

Exfoliative cheilitis is from chronic biting and chewing of the lips


Actinic cheilitis


Cheilitis glandularis

Inflammation of salivary glands of the lips, usually the lower lip. Stoopler JADA 2022

Cheilitis glandularis on the lower lip.

Cheilitis granulomatosa

Cheilitis granulomatosa is a form of orofacial granulomatosa that only occurs on the lips. This is a clinical term describing orofacial swelling caused by non-caseating granulomatous inflammation in the absence of systemic disease


There are many of types of lip lesions as well and some are found on our soft tissue lesion page.