WE use our lips all the time – from sipping on cocktails, catching uo with our mates to of course, kissing.
Many of us get chapped lips, and as winter approaches it might even be time to dig out the old vaseline pot.
But beyond the occasional dry and flaky lip, how much do you really know about your own mouth and what it says about the rest of your body?
According to Dr Bernard J Hennessy, a dentist from Texas, US, lips undergo many changes over the course of someones lifetime.
“While many of these changes are harmless”, he said, “as with age the lips may grow thinner.
“Some of these changes may indicate a medical problem,” he added.
Here, we look at the signs and symptoms of four different conditions that you can spot in your lips…
Having an ulcer on your inside of your lips that won’t go away could be a sign of HIV.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) attacks the body’s immune system and in rare cases it can lead to Aids if the body’s self defences are crippled so much a patient’s life is at threat.
There is no cure for the disease, but there are drugs that enable people with the virus to live a long and healthy life, provided it’s caught early.
It’s estimated that around 106,890 people are living with HIV in the UK.
Dr Jon Hewitt, a dentist at Smmmile, said oral lesions are found in the mouths of 70-90 per cent of HIV positive patients.
This is because a person with untreated HIV will have a weakened immunity
“Other signs in the mouth include fungal infections, necrotising gum disease and a condition called kaposi sarcoma,” he told The Sun.
Kaposi sarcoma is a rare type of cancer caused by a virus, which affects the skin and internal organs.
Everyone gets chapped lips from time to time and it’s normally nothing to worry about.
But in some cases, especially in children, flaky lips can be a sign of pneumonia.
Pneumonia is an deadly infection that causes inflammation in the lungs.
It often develops after having an illness like the flu, or other virus.
It affects around eight in 1,000 adults a year, and it’s more common in autumn and winter.
While it can severely affect people of any age, it’s mostly developed by, and more serious among, the young or elderly.
Symptoms may present different in children than in adults.
According to the NHS, the condition usually begins with a fever, cough, breathing issues and poor appetite.
When the disease has progressed, children may suffer from dehydration which presents with dry lips, a fast heartbeat and dry nappies.
Young sufferers may also have blue lips, otherwise called cyanosis, and be slow to respond or not very alert.
It is essential you seek medical advice as soon as possible if you suspect your child has contracted pneumonia.
Children can be offered drinks with electrolytes to increase the pace of their recovery.
Having a spot on the lip which won’t heal could be a sign of lip cancer.
Rates of mouth cancers, which includes lip cancer, doubled, with 8,864 cases being diagnosed last year, data from the Oral Health Foundation shows.
This is an increase of 34 per cent compared to ten years ago.
Lip cancer occurs on the skin of the lips, but is most common on the lower lip.
According to the Mayo Clinic, most lip cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, which are quite easy to treat.
Cancer on the lip can be caused by excessive sun exposure and smoking use.
You can reduce your risk of lip cancer by protecting your face from the sun with a hat or sunblock, and by quitting smoking, Cancer Research UK says.
Treatment for lip cancer usually involves surgery to remove the cancer.
If you notice cracking in the corner of your lips, you could be suffering from a condition which has been linked to IBS.
The skin condition, known as angular cheilitis, causes swollen red patches in the corners of your mouth and is often happens when the body is low is certain vitamins and minerals.
IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, is a a common and debilitating condition that affects the digestive system.
The disease, which is suffered by a whopping 15 per cent of Brits causes frequent bounds of diarrheoa which can, in some cases, lead to vitamin deficiencies.
Several studies have found 60 per cent of those with IBS can suffer from oral health conditions, like angular cheilitis.
Other common signs of IBS include bloating, cramps and constipation.
Source of data and images: thesun