5 tips for your lips
Most of the time we take our lips for granted. Without a second thought they help us flash a smile, speak our mind, experience a world of culinary delights and share a kiss. As dental clinicians, at each check-up we take a moment to look at the health of your lips as well as your teeth. Here are some tips to keeping them healthy and happy:
1. Try not to lick your lips - especially if they are dry.
Unlike our general skin, lips don't have oil or sweat glands to help keep them moist. When we expose them to sun and wind they tend to dry out fast. Licking your lips temporarily cools and soothes them but the saliva that cleans your mouth and helps protect against cavities has enzymes that are harsh on your lips. Your lips soon dry off again after licking leaving them even dryer.
2. Breathe through your nose
It sounds simple but many people breathe through their mouths especially when exercising. Mouth breathing drags air over the lips at a rapid rate sapping moisture and so drying your lips.
3. Be discerning with your kisses
The mistletoe may be up but don't be carefree with your kisses. Kissing is an easy way for viruses, fungi and bacteria to be shared between people and creaked lips makes it easier for pathogens to enter your system. The American Dental Association refer to a study that says by age 50, about 90% of Americans have been exposed to the virus that causes cold sores.
4. Lips need sun protection too!
Lips are often forgotten as we slip, slop, slap, but it's important to minimise UV exposure for lips as well. Use balms with UV protection and a hat to shade your lips.
5. Be aware of changes and ask for help
Lip cancers are the most common type of oral cancers. Lifestyle choices, such as smoking, drinking, sun exposure and tanning can increase your risk of developing lip cancer. Dentists are typically the first to notice signs of lip cancers. A lip and oral cancer check should be part of your routine dental exam.
What to look out for:
If you have any concerns about your mouth or lips please be sure to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible for a check-up. As well trained dental clinicians (dentists, hygienists and oral therapists) are can detect suspicious areas or provide you with peace of mind.
Stay health and keep smiling.
From Briarna and the team at bcdental
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