Healthy Lips

From a medical point of view, lip care can be the responsibility of either your dentist or your doctor. In this blog post, we will look at various conditions of the lips and help you determine what expert medical help you should seek.

Lip Chapping

Since most people have a dentist, it is common to report lip chapping first to your dentist. Specific dental and medical conditions can be the underlying source. Here are some conditions that can create chapped lips:

  • Dentures
  • Braces
  • Sunburn
  • Excessive lip licking
  • Hot or dry weather
  • Allergies
  • Wearing irritating lipsticks or balms
  • Thyroid
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Reactions to medications
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Dehydration

Consult your dentist if any of the above persist.

Certain certain products, like any of the following, can further irritate chapped lips:

  • Camphor
  • Eucalyptus
  • Flavorings: mint, citric, cinnamon, and peppermint
  • Fragrance
  • Lanolin
  • Menthol
  • Octinoxate or oxybenzone
  • Phenol (phenyl)
  • Propyl gallate
  • Salicylic acid

Certain ingredients can bring relief to dry, cracked lips. Dermalogists and dentists recommend the following:

  • Castor seed oil
  • Ceramides
  • Dimethicone
  • Hemp seed oil
  • Mineral oil
  • Petrolatum
  • Shea butter
  • Sun-protective ingredients, such as titanium oxide or zinc oxide
  • White petroleum jelly

When applying ingredients to your lips, use caution. Your lips do not have oil glands, so maintaining their moisture is up to you. Follow these tips:

  • Use lip balm and lip ointments early and often. Choose a balm or ointment that has petrolatum, which locks in moisture, or dimethicone, which seals off cracks and splits in drying lips. Use six to eight coats a day to maximize use. Keep the product nearby in your purse, desk, car, or medicine cabinet so you always have access.
  • Keep your lips protected when you are outside. Just as you cover your hands and feet in cold, dry weather, you should cover your feet. Make a scarf, ski mask, or bandanna as part of your winter weather gear. A thick, UV lip balm can be applied before going outside for extra protection.
  • Staying hydrated. Do not underestimate the value of staying hydrated in preventing your lips from chapping. Natural hydration prevents cracks and splits that occur that natural sources of water provide.
  • Use a humidifier indoors. A humidifier can be used year-round to moisturize the air while sleeping or awake. Especially in the winter, when dry, hot air is pumped in constantly, a humidifier can add back lost moisture.
  • Do not lick your lips. When you sense your lips are dry, it might seem instinctual to lick them. The saliva in your mouth that adds to your lips to moisturize them does the opposite. Your saliva has enzymes that evaporate moisture from already dry lips.
  • Do not peel or bite the flaky skin on your lips. The skin on your lips is already very thin. Trying to peel away or bite away flaky skin will only create splits and cracks that may bleed. Use balm when tempted to peel or bite flaky skin.
  • Do not exfoliate. Since the skin on the lips is very thin, exfoliating should be avoided. Use balm to moisturize skin you may want to remove from exfoliating.
  • Read the labels. Before you use any product, you should read the labels. Products that would normally have a food allergy, such as nuts, should be avoided. Switching to a petroleum jelly-based product can be the proper substitute for food allergy ingredients.
  • Consult your dentist or doctor. If sore or chapping persists, consult your dentist or doctor. Sores or chapping could be signs of cancer or other medical conditions.

What Are Canker Sores?

According to the Mayo Clinic, most canker sores are round or oval, with a white or yellow center and red border. They form inside your mouth, on or under your tongue, inside your cheeks or lips, at the base of your gums, or on your soft palate. You might notice a tingling or burning sensation a day or two before the sores actually appear.

There are three types of canker sores:

  1. Minor canker sores. Usually small and oval-shaped with a red edge. Heal without scarring in one or two weeks.
  2. Major canker sores. Larger and deeper than minor canker sores. Usually very round with defined borders but may have large irregular edges. It can be extremely painful. It may take up to six weeks to heal and leave extensive scarring.
  3. Herpetiform canker sores. Occur later in life. They are pinpoint in size. They often appear in clusters of 10 to 100 and can merge into one larger ulcer. They have irregular edges. They heal without scarring in one to two weeks.

See your doctor or dentist if you experience any of the following with canker sores:

  • Unusually large canker sores
  • Recurring canker sores that reappear before old ones heal
  • Canker sores that last longer than two weeks
  • Canker sores that extend themselves over their original border
  • Pain you can not control without extreme care
  • Extreme difficulty in eating or drinking
  • High fever with canker sores

What Is Cheilitis?

Cheilitis, sometimes referred to as angular cheilitis, occurs when saliva is trapped and builds up in the corner of your mouth. In trying to relieve the pain, we often make the chapping worse by licking the affected area.

The warmth and moist areas of the mouth are the perfect conditions for fungus to grow. The Candida fungus, the same fungus that creates diaper rash, creates cheiltis.

There are a variety of conditions and diseases that can worsen cheilitis. These include diabetes, immune disorders, cancers, anemia, down syndrome, or HIV.

Cheilitis can be treated with topical antifungal creams or topical antibiotics. Consult your doctor for recommendations on the best treatment for you.

Home Remedies For Lip Chapping

  • Baking soda. Mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with a dab of water. Mix to create a paste. Apply the paste directly to the chapped area.
  • Saltwater or saline solution. Mix a single cup of warm water with a teaspoon of salt. Swish the solution in your mouth for about thirty seconds. This can be repeated for three days.
  • Mouthwash. Swish mouthwash around for about 30 seconds. Make sure you do not overuse it. Overuse will kill good bacteria in the mouth too.
  • Hydrogen peroxide. Mix two parts of water with one part of hydrogen peroxide. Swish around for about 30 seconds. Do not swallow.
  • Alum. Mix half a teaspoon of alum with a dab of water. Mix to a paste. Apply the paste twice a day to the chapped area.
  • Sage tea. After making a cup of sage tea, swish every drink around your mouth before swallowing.
  • Plum juice. Sip a couple of tablespoons of plum juice and swish it for about two or three minutes.

Remember, consult your dentist or doctor if any chapping or mouth sore persists after a couple of weeks.

Serving the Salt Lake Valley, Cottonwood Heights, Mill Creek, Park City, Summit County, Elko, Nevada, West Wendover, Nevada, and Evanston, Wyoming


More Posts

Judgment-Free, High-Quality Dentistry is Possible

Experience it for yourself!