Protecting your lips this summer: the importance of regular dental check-ups

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. While our lips are not normally thought of as oral health, they are just as important to take care of. Our oral health includes 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.

While we should be protecting our mouth and lips all year round, we tend to get more sun and exposure to weather during the summer months, so it’s important to protect your lips to ensure you’re ready to enjoy the summer holidays.

Prevention for your mouth

  • Regular check-ups with your dentist will ensure you’re keeping an eye on your mouth including your 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 labeled ‘broad spectrum’ and has a sun protection factor of 30 or higher.
  • SPF lip balms are a good alternative, especially because there are lots to choose from and they tend not to be as unpleasant as wearing sunscreen on the mouth. Choose a lip balm that is labelled broad spectrum and has a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF) – the higher the number the more protective it will be2.
  • 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 could 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.



2About sunscreens | Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

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