Yeast is one of the organisms normally found in the mouth in small amount. The number of yeast in the mouth is controlled by the immune system.
However, overgrowth can happen in people with a weak immune system leading to all types of oral infection. Lip fungus is caused by Candida yeast, the very same organism found in the digestive and vaginal tract.
Candida or Monilia is the largest group of yeast-like fungi. In larger amount, it invades the body by creating toxins and stimulating hypersensitivity reaction. Lip fungus is common in babies and elderly. The infection is commonly known as thrush. (6, 7, 8)
Lip Fungus Pictures
Image 1: A close up view of an oral thrush.
Picture Source: health.knowfacts.org
Photo 2: A patient with angular cheilitis with an obvious red cracks at the corners of the mouth.
Image Source: www.healthline.com
Image 3: Thrush in a baby’s mouth.
Picture Source: images.agoramedia.com
Photo 4: A patient with a severe fungal infection of the mouth.
Image Source: glutenfreeworks.com
Lip infection Types
- Moniliasis/Thrush – It is characterized by yellowish to smooth creamy white coating on the oral surface such as the lips. (1)
- Erythematous – It pertains to red peeling patches commonly found in the tongue and palate.
- Chronic hyperplastic – It is characterized by extra tissue discoloration that cannot be wiped off easily.
- Angular cheilitis – It is characterized by red cracks coated by pseudo-membrane usually found at the corners of the mouth. (4)
What causes fungal infections on the lips?
The types of fungus responsible for lip fungus infections are Candida albicans and Monilia albicans.
- Candida albicans – It is a yeast-like fungus that grows under warm and moist condition. It is an opportunistic fungus because it attacks the body when the immune system is weak. It usually invades the vagina, but can also affect the mouth and lips. It is the primary cause of angular stomatitis. (2)
- Monilia albicans – It causes moniliasis affecting both the mouth and the lips. It is commonly found in bottle-feeding babies. The common name for Monilial infection is thrush. (2, 4)
How do you know if you have a yeast infection in the mouth? You will observe the following clinical manifestations:
- Painful or burning sensation in the mouth.
- Painful and tingling sensation on the lips.
- Digestive-related problem.
- Body weakness because a person with lip fungus cannot eat properly because of the pain.
- White plaques in the inside of the lips and corners of the mouth.
- Desire to eat sweets.
- Pain in the joints and muscles.
- The patient is anemic.
- Craving for alcoholic drinks. (5, 6, 7)
Lip Fungus Treatment
Fungus on lips treatment comes in many different forms and approach. Depending on the severity of the condition, the doctor will use antifungal drugs and creams.
Lip fungus cream
Antifungal creams are applied topically. Some of them can alleviate the symptoms of lip fungus while others target disease-causing fungi. Antifungal creams are available over the counter but those with strong ingredients require doctor’s prescription.
Creams for infants and adults require prescription. The typical creams for fungal infection include Clotrimazole, Nystatin, Fluconazole, Betamethasone, and Miconazole. (8)
Yeast infection on lips home remedies
An infected swollen lip can be cured using natural approach. In fact, the infection can be treated right in the comfort of home using the ingredients commonly found in the kitchen. Some of the tested and proven effective natural remedies for lip fungus include the following:
- Coconut oil – It contains caprylic acid, a potent substance that has the ability to destroy candida. In fact, coconut oil is not only effective in treating fungal infection. It also treats bacterial infection.
- Turmeric – It has a powerful cleansing effect to the body. It helps treat mild symptoms of angular cheilitis primarily because of its antibacterial property.
- Salt water gargle – This home remedy is recommended for adult patients. Gargling salt water can help alleviate pain, swelling, and dryness of the lips. It is not recommended for infants because they are prone to swallowing the salt water solution. (8, 9)
- Olive oil/honey – Olive oil is a natural moisturizer. Apply olive oil to the lips paying particular attention to the cracks on the corners of the mouth. If you don’t have olive oil, then you can just use honey. It is a very good moisturizer and has anti-inflammatory property. It is effective in treating bacterial and fungal infections.
- Garlic and onions – They have antifungal properties. The pulp of garlic and red onion can be used to treat lip fungus. Gently rub the pulp on the lips, but make sure you don’t apply them on sores and cracks as they could cause extreme pain and burning sensation.
- Castor oil – it has an antibacterial and moisturizing effect. It hastens the healing process of both bacterial and fungal infection. (5, 10, 11)
What you can do to prevent lip fungus?
- Maintain a good oral hygiene. It is your first line of defense against all types of infections.
- If your partner has lip fungus, you should refrain doing intimate activities such as deep kissing or biting the lips to prevent the spread of infection.
- Stay away from lip products containing harmful chemicals. These includes lipsticks, lip balms, and lip gloss.
- Make sure you keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water. It stimulates the secretion of saliva thereby preventing drying of the lips. A dry lips can further aggravate the infection.
- Keep your body healthy by eating a well-balanced meal. Include essential vitamins and minerals in your diet to strengthen the immune system. Opportunistic organisms like fungus and bacteria cannot invade the body if the immune system is strong.
- If you have micronutrient deficiency, you should see your nutritionist to help you with your diet modification.
- You should limit your intake of sugar rich foods. This includes foods like soda drinks, sweet juices, cookies, ice creams, and cakes. Fungus are attracted to sweets.
- Avoid things that can irritate the lips such as chili, peppers, and onions. If you have an ongoing infection, you should avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and smoke tobacco products. They can further aggravate the infection.
- If your lip fungus worsens despite home remedies, then you should immediately see your doctor. (1, 4, 6, 8, 11)