Protecting your lips this summer: why regular dental check-ups are important for your lips and mouth
What do my lips have to do with my oral health?
Maintaining good oral health is not limited to having pearly whites and a beautiful smile. It goes far beyond aesthetics, incorporating the prevention and early detection of oral health issues we may encounter in our teeth, lips, and mouth.
Lips allow air into your mouth for breathing and, together with your cheeks, help you to speak and shape your facial expressions. They also keep food and saliva in your mouth while chewing. Ultimately, these strong muscles guide and keep your teeth in their proper positions1.
All about your lips
The lips are made of sensitive skin tissue which is a transition point between the skin and the moist mucous membrane of the mouth. This makes them especially prone to sunburn and a condition called squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) or cancer of the lip 2.
Prevention for your lips
- Regular check-ups with your dentist will ensure you’re keeping an eye on your mouth and dental health.
- Using sunscreen on your lips – Apply sunscreen to your lips, provided there are no manufacturer recommendations against doing so. Make sure it is labelled ‘broad spectrum’ and has a sun protection factor of 30 or higher.
- SPF lips balms are a good alternative, especially because there’s lots to choose from and they tend not to be as unpleasant as wearing sunscreen on the mouth. Choose a lip balm which is labelled broad spectrum and has a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF) – the higher the number the more protective it will be3.
- Wear a hat – Keeping the sun away from your face and lips by wearing a hat along with appropriate application of sunscreen and lip balms is the best way to reduce the risk of sun damage.
What to avoid?
- Avoid picking at your lips, which can cause skin damage.
- Don’t store lip balm in your car or in direct sunlight where it’s likely to melt and lose its protective qualities.
If it’s been a while since you’ve had a check-up, Book an appointment with your dentist to ensure you maintain your oral health. If you have concerns, it’s reassuring to know there are numerous factors that can lead to more serious issues. This emphasises the importance of regular monitoring of both your oral health and your lifestyle choices, so you can take proactive steps towards a healthier, happier life.