Here is something that might not be “top of mind” when thinking about your overall oral/dental health care routines – your lips! That’s right, today we are talking about the outside of your mouth and the importance of maintaining great care for your mouth, teeth and gums – from the outside in.
Our lips take a beating every day. They do a tremendous amount of work for us and play an important but forgotten role in our overall oral health. Lips act as a first line of defence for the mouth, literally protecting us from all manner of bacteria and harmful materials. The problem is, we tend to forget all about them. If you’re a woman of a “certain age” you might have spent your youth slicking on Bonne Ball Lip Smackers in a variety of flavours but outside of that, kids in general and certainly most men, don’t pay any attention to their lips and with both UVA and UVB rays in abundance that’s just not a smart idea.
Lip care should become part of your regular dental routine in the summer months. The sun is particularly tough on lips and believe it or not, your lips CAN burn. They can also become parched and dry, resulting in peeling and this can lead to the potential for harmful bacteria causing infection. Your lips are very susceptible to harmful sunrays because they do not contain the same protective pigments found elsewhere on your skin. Repeated exposure won’t just lead to the potential for lines and wrinkles but could lead to much more serious consequences like cancerous growths. In fact; of all oral cancers, the lower lip is 12 times more likely to become the site of cancerous tumors and while this might be rare, an ounce of prevention, easily achieved with lip balm, is certainly a realistic habit to develop. Even harsh winter conditions can also lead to dry, cracked and tender lips so frankly, lip care should always be a priority.
What to do? It’s simple. Whether man, woman or child, make sure that a reputable lip care product, containing an SPF of minimum 15,* becomes a part of your daily routine. This has to be one of the easiest tips we’ve ever suggested. No water required, you don’t need to carry around a toothbrush and lip balms are small, portable and slip easily into any pocket or purse. Look for a lip care product that contains “broad-spectrum” formulas protecting you from both the UVB and UVA rays. UVB is responsible for sunburn, while UVA potentially plays a role in skin cancer development. Products with broad-spectrum on the label will help block or absorb both.
So, whether you choose to be a “Bonne Belle,” a “Chapstick Charlie” or select a product from the natural, holistic health care aisle, make lip protection a key part of your oral care routine throughout the summer months. As always, we invite you to call or visit us anytime and remind you ”don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and Brush that SMILE!”
*in this case, more is always better and an SPF of 30 or more is recommended.