Lip Fungus Thrush, Cheilitis in Infants or Adults: Causes, Remedies, Creams & Treatments 

What is lip fungus? How does fungal infection on this area? Any infection here is generally disturbing. With the pictures provided, get hints that you might be having it or candida infection. There are various ways to get rid of the lip fungus which comprises OTC or prescription creams, gels or systemic medicine.

Everyone has mouth yeast that normally causes no problems because it is continually under check by our immune system. However, the yeast can overgrow leading to thrush candidiasis (infection) under certain conditions.

Can it affect the lips? Yes. Thrush can affect the lips due to the closeness or proximity to your mouth. Scroll down and get more information.

Symptoms – with Images or Pictures

Depending on the trigger or cause of fungal infection of lips, dryness, burning sensation, redness, itchiness, lip pain and cracking may be accompanied. (Continue reading for more signs and symptoms.)

Lesions or sores on corner of the mouth are also evident symptoms. Sometimes the lesions that form on lips become contagious and you have to do all it takes to avoid spreading to others.

Types and how they occur – causes

Can mouth fungus cause a lip infection? Fungal invasion can be a gradual but surely will end up causing discomfort. Is lip fungus real? Read on to know-how.

Oral candidiasis (thrush)

Oral candidiasis or thrush infection in the mouth can occur and may be triggered by a number of factors such as:

  • Pregnancy
  • Illness such as HIV
  • Immune-suppressing treatment such as chemotherapy
  • Certain medications administered orally
  • Smoking
  • Dentures

The above factors really favor conditions for candida to start multiplying causing an infection. Infection of lips due to fungus in many cases starts in mouth and spreads out to the lips especially if there is little done to control outgrowing candida.

Other risks for candidiasis include age, diabetes and long-term use of antibiotics.

microscopic view of candida albicans cells image

  • People with an illness such as diabetes have a higher blood sugar in body fluids on which the candida feed.
  • Prolonged use of antibiotics gets rid of the beneficial micro-bio agents that help check numbers of candida in mouth
  • Steroid medication is another risk
  • Oral candidiasis and age factor is seen in toddlers or infants especially during breastfeeding
  • Dry mouth. People who occasionally have dryness in mouth have problems with salivary glands. Less saliva in mouth means you are prone to oral thrush

Angular cheilitis

Angular cheilitis is a painful and chronic inflammation of either lip corners of the mouth whose symptoms can last for even years since it may be caused by irritation of the lips, bacterial or fungal infections.

Overgrowth of Candida albicans and bacteria is usually what causes angular cheilitis. Cases of angular cheilitis could be mild to serious or severe.

Common signs and symptoms

The symptoms are usually felt or described at the corners of the mouth. Since it is an inflammatory condition, the lip corners feel slight pain especially with tenderness. Pain due to angular cheilitis could also be shown by the following signs.

  • Formation of cracks on lip corners
  • Pus or draining from the cracks
  • In chronic cases, some form of ulceration or lesions will be formed

During the initial stages, this condition can be symptomatic of gray to white thickening and redness around skin on the mouth corner. Sometimes swelling may occur but bleeding is less likely unless it is prompted.

Chronic angular cheilitis is symptomized by formation of hard-to-heal lesions, pus, scaling and wound tissue. There is also notable poor response to topical treatments.

Other causative factors and persons at risk

Besides (bacteria or yeast) infection, these factors include:

  • Irritant contact dermatitis
  • Allergic contact dermatitis
  • Iron and vitamin B deficiencies
  • Systemic disorders such as anorexia nervosa
  • Side effects of drugs such as Accutane

Anyone is at risk of angular cheilitis. Infants with cheilitis often have oral candidiasis symptoms or signs. Adults with cheilitis and who are diabetic may be diagnosed of oral thrush.

Treatment and managing angular cheilitis

Doctors recommend treatment for angular cheilitis should start by stopping the microbial overgrowth, multiplying rate be under control or bringing it back to normal.

Infants with oral candidiasis should be examined or diagnosed and treated first.

Topical antifungal medication such as Clotrimazole, Amphotericin B and Ketoconazole may be combined with corticosteroids in cases where inflammation causes pain in lips.

Adults with diabetes or with suppressed immunity undergo an appropriate therapy to address them. Have the patient apply topical Nystatin ointment or Imidazole creams. According to DERM101 Web site, topical therapy may need to be maintained if immunosuppression persist.

Managing angular cheilitis is critical in chronic cases where topical treatments cannot respond quickly. However, identifying the underlying cause or trigger is very essential for treatment.

In infants

As opposed to adult lip fungus, infants are more prone to yeast infections especially during breastfeeding. In addition, drooping is more common in infants and this add up to infection risks. The saliva easily attracts harmful bacteria and harmful organisms.

Angular cheilitis can also affect infants as well. So, beware of the symptoms we highlighted.

Common signs or symptoms

Among infants these are significant signs and symptoms of fungal infections on lips or in mouth.

  • White creamy patches or plaques on the gums and lip mucosa
  • Burning and itching sensation with fussy feeding or refusal to eat
  • Dry lip mucosa due to lack of sufficient moisture
  • Redness and swelling of the lips (in case infection involves invasion of the lips by bacteria)
  • Signs of illness that can be revealed from general weakness
  • Craving high for sugary and sweet things

In case of an outbreak, thrush in infants is considered very serious only if it lasts for more than 2 weeks. More importantly, prioritize in hygiene of good standards during breastfeeding.

However, consider to go for regular check-up when you are pregnant to help reduce instances of thrush recurring after birth and as you prepare for breastfeeding.

Symptoms if fungal infections in infants can get worse. This is a high time you must see doctor or dentist promptly.


Basically, mouth fungus is kept under control by your immune system. In case of an infection, lip fungus responds to medications quite well in many people. Dentists and doctors treat this  infection according to the symptoms as described by patients themselves.

Some of the popular treatments are based on topical antifungal medicines or creams.

Best creams or cure for lip fungal infection

Some antifungal creams for lips are specifically meant to deal with symptoms while others can cure the infection or get rid of the fungus. Most creams are available over the counter. Some are prescription creams.

As we stated, topical treatments usually give good results when applied optimally. Keep in mind that overuse or prolonged duration in medication can be potentially lead to serious conditions.

Prescription creams are recommended for both infants and adults with this problem. Common creams for fungal infections include:

  • Nystatin creams
  • Clotrimazole (Canesten or Lotrimin)
  • Betamethasone (Dipropionate)
  • Fluconazole (OTC creams)
  • Miconazole (Monistat)

The form of administration may be determined by your doctor who is giving you treatment for fungal infections. For those intending to go for OTC creams, it is advisable to ask for medical guidance. You can ask your pharmacist or physician.

For some people, lip balms can still work and produce best results. However, you need to talk to your dermatologist to find out or figure out if there could be a potentially harmful effect applying lip balm.

IMPORTANT: For some topical medicines or creams to be effective, triggers have to be identified followed by relevant response be avoid recurring episodes. For instance, irritants should be avoided at all cost.

Natural remedies for mouth thrush or lip fungus

These natural remedies can help deal with symptoms that cause pain. The results from these home remedies largely depends on severity of lip fungus infection.

1.      Coconut oil

To begin, one of the widely applied remedy for skin ailments is coconut oil. These are some of the manner in which this remedy can be utilized.

  • Application of coconut oil on to the nipples of breastfeeding mums
  • Coconut oil also has caprylic acid, which naturally destroys the candida

2.      Salty water gargling

Another common remedy for adults with mouth problems symptomatic of a problem with mucosal, swelling, dryness or slight pain that gives discomfort in mouth. It is almost always sounds simple as it appears but can help you out in times of necessity.

Prepare a salty solution but not very concentrated. Gargle several times while you spit pot.

NOTE: This remedy may not be appropriate for infants since they will more likely swallow.

3.      Turmeric

Besides its healing powers, turmeric roots can be of great help for those with other ailments to do with cleansing. In addition, this remedy will apply for mild-symptoms angular cheilitis because it has some antibacterial properties.

If you want to make it cleverly, just add some warm milk instead of water. Take a glass of turmeric + warm milk per day for 2 – 4 months.

4.      Garlic and onion

Garlic and onions have substantially good anti-fungal property. If you have you have no problem with taste or strong smell of garlic, you can prepare a solution and use it to rinse.

Otherwise, you may apply the pulp of garlic or red onion on the lips.

CAUTION: If you have sores or there is cracking at the corners or in lips avoid garlic or onions in general.

5.      Olive oil

This remedy is used as an alternative super hydration. Apply olive oil to cracks on corner of mouth before you go to bed.

If you cannot get olive oil, get some natural honey. In addition to hydration, honey can cool down inflammation on the lips due to bacterial or fungal activities.

6.      Castor oil and warm milk

If there are fissures on your lips due to a fungal infection this trick at the comfort of your home can help accelerate healing.

  • Add 1 tablespoon of castor oil and a cup of warm milk
  • Apply it your lips gently several times a day as it may necessitate or as you wish

7.      Tips for sores on corner of mouth

In attempts to rid of the sores on corner of mouth after properly treating the underlying cause, you should consider the following. Apply dilute tea tree oil to reduce chances lip infections and sores on mouth corners.

Avoid lip licking, salty or spicy foods, alcohol, chewing hard foods and maintaining oral hygiene.

It can be generally concluded that a few remedies will alleviate symptoms and make you feel better. If your lip infection signs or symptoms get worse desist from remedies because they may not be of much needed help. These include blood root and golden seal pastes.

Self-care tips

If you have been diagnosed of lip fungus or infection characteristic of angular cheilitis, it is advisable for patients to prevent it from recurring.

  • Maintain oral hygiene, and avoid intimate or deep kissing or biting your lips as the fungus can easily spread
  • Control your sexuality and behavior
  • Be aware of harmful chemicals in the form of lipsticks, lip gloss, lip balms etc.
  • If DIYs or natural treatments seem to worsen symptoms such as irritation you may have a serious infection or related condition
  • Apply OTC creams for a few days or as directed by your pharmacist
  • Drink plenty of water as it stimulates the secretion of saliva
  • Consume nutritional foods and include essential vitamins in your diet
  • See a nutritionist if symptoms for vital vitamin E, B1, B12, and deficiency such as iron.
  • Limit sugar intake by reducing volumes of sweet juice, soda and other sweet foods you consume

Avoid irritating the lips with spicy foods such as peppers and onions. Consuming alcohol, chewing tobacco or smoking bang will only worsen the infection. Indeed for you to effectively cure the infection, it is best you see your physician to look into your symptoms.