A couple of years ago I had a problem with my mouth – both the started started splitting, causing very painful open sores. I still get these every now and again, and wanted to let people know what the cause is for me in the hope it might help others.

Searching for a solution

At first, I thought they were cold sores, and used the relevant treatment from the chemist. I usually use Zovirax for cold sores, but this was not working.

I try to be health conscious and thought it might be some sort of vitamin deficiency. I thought it unilaterally, as I already took a number of supplements, but decided to do some research into this problem with my trusty friend Mr Google.

The medical term for this sort of problem is Angular Cheilitis , and it's cause seems a bit of a mystery. Is it a cold sore? Is it an iron / vitamin B / vitamin C deficiency? Is it an infection?

I tried boosting my intake of these vitamins and iron, but nothing seemed to work.

In fact, the sores seemed to be getting worse, and I found myself constantly applying vaseline or lip balm to sooth the sores. I even surprised if this was causing the sores to get worse.

The surprise discovery

After a couple of months, I was driven mad with this, and even considered taking a day off work to visit my doctor. (I was working on a contract, so would not have been paid for a trip to the doctor!)

By Chance, I happened to be talking to a college about this and he said he had exactly the same problem in the past. He went through the same process of trying different treatments, until he discovered the cause:


Yes, that's right. It was the toothpaste he was using at the time that caused his problem. I thought back to when this problem started, and we had changed our brand of toothpaste just a week or so before it developed.

I immediately changed back to my old toothpaste, and to my amazement, the sores went away within a week.

I had nearly forgotten about this, but in the last few days I have been getting a tingle in the corners of my mouth – a sign that they might be splitting soon. And guess what? We recently changed brand of toothpaste again!

I would like to do more research into the ingredients that cause this, so will be keeping a list of toothpastes that cause it. So far, I have two –

Aquafresh – one of their stripy varieties. I try to avoid all stripy ones these days.

Pronamel – Gentle Whitening variety. I have used some other Pronamel toothpastes without any problem.

Having lived with these sores for nearly two months in the past, and knowing the embarrassment it causes, I hope that this might help someone out there.

Here's a disclaimer in case one of these toothpaste companies tries to sue me – This post in no way attempts to prove that there is a link between toothpaste, in particular the brands mentioned, and Angular Cheilitis. Everything written here is my own opinion and is based on my own experience.