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Quiz: Secrets of a Healthy, Pretty Mouth

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What’s the first thing you should do for peeling or chapped lips?

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What’s the first thing you should do for peeling or chapped lips?

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Balms -- even if they’re inexpensive or very basic -- are key for rehydrating dry lips and locking in moisture. Licking, however, makes it worse. Choose one with sunscreen, SPF 15 or higher, since sun exposure can cause chapped lips or make them worse.

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Which food has the same ingredient as many lip-plumping glosses?

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Which food has the same ingredient as many lip-plumping glosses?

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Capsaicin, the compound that gives heat to hot peppers, is used in many lip-plumping glosses. Capsaicin -- or other ingredients like cinnamon, wintergreen, and menthol -- irritates the lips, increasing blood flow. The idea is that the extra blood will swell the lips, but most experts say the effect is minimal.

 

To get a plumper look with makeup, put a dot of silver or gold lip gloss or shimmery eye shadow in the middle of your upper and lower lips. It'll create the appearance of a puffier pout.

Which of these is the better treatment for cracked or chapped lips?

Which of these is the better treatment for cracked or chapped lips?

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Balms and sticks with petrolatum and other sealing agents like shea butter maintain moisture inside your skin better than wax does. But what may help heal the lips even faster is treating them with an extremely moisturizing lip or face cream that will soak into the skin and then sealing the moisture in with a balm. Look for creams with antioxidants or hyaluronic acid.  

Sheer lipsticks are better than matte lipsticks for women with dry lips.

Sheer lipsticks are better than matte lipsticks for women with dry lips.

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It used to be that matte lipsticks contained few oils and could cake and flake on drier lips. But these days, the lipsticks of most good makeup lines include either emollients like shea butter or types of silicone that keep lips moist.

Women with braces shouldn’t wear lipstick, or at least not bright or shiny colors.

Women with braces shouldn’t wear lipstick, or at least not bright or shiny colors.

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Going without lip color will bring full attention to your mouth, so the only thing you'll notice is the braces, says  LA aesthetician LeAine Dehmer. The trick is to bring attention to the lips themselves. To do that, avoid dark tones. But go ahead and add shine or a gentle sparkle, she says. It may boost your confidence.

 

A leading orthodontist notes that bright color also brings the focus to your mouth. But some women with braces like people to notice, says Dr. Gayle Glenn.

 

If you have ceramic braces, a lip stain or long-lasting formula lipstick may be less likely to smudge and get color on your brackets, she says.

 

Is it your imagination, or are your mustache hairs getting darker with age?

Is it your imagination, or are your mustache hairs getting darker with age?

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Many women complain as they age that formerly fine or light hairs on their upper lip seem to get darker or coarser as they get older. It’s a real phenomenon that can be due to normal hormonal fluctuations.

 

Excessive new hair growth, however, should be checked out by a doctor.

Which of these are good for your health, but may be bad for your teeth?

Which of these are good for your health, but may be bad for your teeth?

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Despite being packed with heart-healthy polyphenols, red wine can stain teeth. It’s also acidic, as are foods like citrus, and highly acidic foods and drinks can erode enamel.

What’s the best thing to do right after eating an orange?

What’s the best thing to do right after eating an orange?

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Acidic foods and drinks like citrus and alcohol temporarily soften enamel -- so if you brush right after consuming them, you can actually wipe away some of your enamel. The best thing to do is chew some sugarless gum with xylitol, which helps counteract the acid.

 

Eating some cheese or drinking milk will do the same thing. (FYI, brushing an hour or two later is fine.)

Aside from smoking, what’s the top cause of fine lines above the lip?

Aside from smoking, what’s the top cause of fine lines above the lip?

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Experts have long noticed that women who smoke tend to get very pronounced fine lines around the mouth, partially from constant contraction of the muscles in that area. But pursing your lips to sip from a straw, sports bottle, or reusable coffee cup requires the same kind of muscle contraction. 

 

To reduce this effect, sip straws from the sides of your mouth, and pay attention to pursing less while sipping from other cups.

Botox shots are the best way to treat lines around the lips.

Botox shots are the best way to treat lines around the lips.

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Botulinum toxin injections such as Botox and Dysport do work, but they’re not the only fix. Botulinum toxin relaxes muscles around the mouth, smoothing the appearance of lines by reducing the ability to pout the lips temporarily.

 

Fillers can be used to plump out the area, smoothing lines, and laser resurfacing may smooth things by strengthening collagen under skin.  

 

As for over-the-counter cures, anti-aging creams with peptides or retinoids specifically formulated for the areas around the mouth may help.

What can help keep lipstick from bleeding into lip lines?

What can help keep lipstick from bleeding into lip lines?

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The latest lipsticks don’t feather as much as those from years ago -- but if yours still does, try this makeup artist strategy for filling in lines: 

 

Apply a moisturizing cream around the mouth and let it soak in; lightly dust the upper lip area with a fine face powder, then press into lip line with finger tip. Line lips with lip pencil, then apply your favorite lipstick.

 

Which of these toiletries can help keep lipstick from flaking?

Which of these toiletries can help keep lipstick from flaking?

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Exfoliating lips -- sloughing away dead skin -- creates a smooth surface for lipsticks and glosses. You don’t need a fancy product to do it; just run your toothbrush over your lips to quickly swipe away flakes.

You’re most likely to get a good result from at-home whitening if your teeth are

You’re most likely to get a good result from at-home whitening if your teeth are

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People with yellow tones to their teeth are likely to respond best to in-office or at-home tooth-whitening gels and strips. But grayish teeth might not bleach out at all, especially if the teeth have a bit of a translucent look. That’s likely caused by age or by thin enamel. In those cases, a cosmetic dentist may recommend veneers, bonding, or crowns.

Which of these at-home tooth-whitening products may take the longest to work?

Which of these at-home tooth-whitening products may take the longest to work?

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Whitening mouthwashes that include the bleaching agent hydrogen peroxide are on teeth for a short time, rather than 30 minutes or more like strips and trays. So any effect they have may take longer.

Your Score:     You correctly answered   out of   questions.
Your Score:     You correctly answered   out of   questions.
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You obviously know your way around a pretty mouth! Keep up the good work.

Not bad! Your know-how means you probably have a pretty healthy pucker.

Your healthy-mouth know-how could use a little work. Why not take the quiz again to see how much you’ve learned?

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