Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when a person does not have enough of the essential vitamin in their diet. This can result in a lack of red blood cells and damaged nerves. Having certain medical conditions can also increase a person’s risk of being B12 deficient. Pernicious anaemia is one of those conditions and affects how a person absorbs the vitamin from their diet. Seeing these unusual lesions on the corners of your mouth could mean you’re at risk of being B12 deficient.
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A warning sign to look out for includes noticing sores around the mouth area.
The Thyroid Patient Advocacy said: “Sores at the corners of the mouth, sometimes extending along the edge of the lip may be a warning.
“These are raw spots, not blisters, and they tend to come and go.”
The condition is known medically as angular cheilitis
What is angular cheilitis?
Medical News Today explained: “Angular cheilitis is a skin condition that causes one or both corners of the mouth to become painful and inflamed.
“The technical term for the areas affected are the labial commissures.
“The commissures refer to the two corners of the mouth, where the upper and lower lips connect.
“Angular cheilitis is inflammation, including redness, swelling, and pain at one or both commissures.”
The mouth may give other warning signs of a B12 deficiency including atrophic glossitis.
These are tiny bumps on the tongue which begin to waste away.
This makes the tongue look smooth and glossy.
Feeling pain in your tongue is another warning sign that you are not getting enough vitamin B12.
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In a study with the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, oral manifestations in vitamin B12 deficiency patients was analysed.
The study noted: “Vitamin B12 is one of important nutritional components that affect oral health.
“The purpose of this study was to compare clinical features of vitamin B12 deficiency patients with a history of gastrectomy to those without a history of gastrectomy.
“Patients’ chief complaints, oral manifestations, blood examination results, and past medical histories were reviewed.”
The study concluded that lacking in vitamin B12 can cause a variety of oral manifestations with tongue pain being the main complaint.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is most commonly caused by pernicious anaemia which is an autoimmune condition affecting the stomach.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can also be caused by a lack of the vitamin in the diet, in which case improving one’s diet and adding supplements can help to reverse symptoms.
Good sources of B12 include meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, soy products and fortified breakfast cereals.
In cases where deficiency is caused by pernicious anaemia, patients may need to have injections of the vitamin for the rest of their lives.
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