Gear guide for the season of sunshine 

Summer may be short, but depending on how well-equipped you are, the effects of the season can be long-term for your oral and overall health. 

Our lips are sealed 

Lip balm with SPF shouldn’t just live in your beach bag, it should follow you everywhere. It protects you from skin cancer, aging and dehydration. Because your bottom lip often juts out further than your top lip, it’s especially susceptible to UV damage and its harmful effects. Chronic sun exposure can also break down the collagen in your lips, resulting in a deflated appearance and less protection for your teeth and gums. 

In a pinch, you can use your face sunscreen on your lips to protect them. This can be a bit difficult and uncomfortable due to its thinner texture. Lip products typically use heavier waxes or oils to keep them in place. 

How to shop for a lip balm:

  1. Look for hydrating and moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, shea butter and glycerin.
  2. It’s recommended to use broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and those made with mineral ingredients. Mineral ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide sit on top of the skin to physically protect from UV rays.
  3. Avoid lip balms with “cooling” ingredients like menthol, camphor or phenol as they can be both dehydrating and irritating.
  4. Like normal sunscreen, reapply SPF lip balm every two hours and after eating, drinking or swimming for ultimate protection. 

Be wary of ingredients like oxybenzone and avobenzone, which can amplify the sun’s exposure to your lips. 

Hydration comes highly recommended

One of the best things you can do for your oral and overall health in the summer is to stay hydrated. However, many people find it challenging to drink the recommended amount of water each day. This has resulted in a boom of electrolyte drink packets. These packets are then added to water to boost its hydrating effects.

But are these drink packets good for you? The main “draw” of these packets is the claim that they deliver hydration to your bloodstream faster and more effectively than water alone. While this claim is not scientifically proven, it does follow the World Health Organization’s standards, meaning it truly can be used to improve hydration.

Many of these hydration packets do come with a downside — a high sugar content. Sugar-saturated drinks are not good for your teeth, as they can cause cavities and tooth decay. Look for a sugar-free electrolyte powder for all the hydration benefits, without damage to your teeth. These pre-packaged drinks are a good option for hydration if you struggle with daily water intake. But we recommend using in moderation, if at all, for the sake of your smile.

Keep your eyes on the prize

Sunglasses are great fashion and function, but not all sunglasses are created equal when it comes to function. Wearing the wrong pair can do more harm than good to your eyes.

The sunglasses you choose need to protect against the sun’s powerful UV (ultra-violet) rays. Specifically, against its UVA rays, which can harm the macula located in the back of your eye. The macula is what allows you to see in detail clearly. The cornea and lens of your eye are located towards the front and can be damaged by a different type of UV radiation called UVB rays. 

What should you look for when shopping for sunglasses? Those that claim to block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays are the best choice. You should also look for:

  • Those that advertise they stop 75% to 90% of visible light
  • Lenses with the same level of darkness throughout
  • Lenses that are gray, so colors are still viewed accurately
  • Frames that are close to your eyes and fit the overall shape of your face

If the lenses of your sunglasses do change color, the darkest part should be towards the top of the lenses and the change in color should be gradual.

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