Good personal hygiene can be highly beneficial to one's health, social life, and professional interactions.  Dirt accumulates over time, hair and fingernails grow, and bacteria and food particles collect in the mouth and around the teeth if one does not regularly engage in proper bathing and grooming. 

Here are some tips on how to maintain good personal hygiene.

 

Wash Your Body Thoroughly and Frequently

Shower daily to keep harmful bacteria from manifesting into flus, fevers, and headaches.  Soap and water are essential for keeping the skin clean.  Those who are involved in active sports or work out would do well to take a shower after the activity and be sure to dry with a clean towel.

Skin tends to get drier as one gets older, so use moisturizing lotion or cream to rehydrate the skin. It is better to do this at night after showering since dirt tends to stick to the skin during daily activities.

 

The genitals and anus need to be cleaned well since the natural secretions of these areas can cause irritation and infection in unhygienic conditions.  Using a bidet seat will help keep private areas clean after using the bathroom.

 

Hair Hygiene

Washing and conditioning hair with products for one’s hair type are also important parts of a healthy hygiene regimen.  Avoid washing hair too frequently, which can damage the hair and dry out the scalp.  Hair can always be rinsed with water without applying products to rinse away dirt, while allowing natural oils to remain.  Clean combs and brushes at least once a week by washing with soap, water and allowing to air dry.

 

Oral Hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene results in a mouth that looks and smells healthy.  Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop and is much less painful, expensive, and worrisome than treating conditions that have been allowed to progress.

Some tips on maintaining good oral hygiene:

- Use the right toothbrush- The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends a soft bristled brush.

- Brush teeth and gums for 2 minutes twice a day.

- Excessive brushing and flossing can irritate the gums and teeth, as well as erode tooth enamel.

- Rinse the mouth and toothbrush and let the toothbrush dry.

- Change out the toothbrush once the bristles look frayed or every 3 months.


Hand Hygiene

Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after every meal, as well as after visiting the toilet.  Soaping and rinsing should cover the areas between fingers, nails, and the back of the hand.  If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but do not eliminate all types of germs.

Use hands-free fixtures to clean and dry hands, especially in public restrooms where germs are most rampant.

Having dirty nails can lead to many serious diseases and infections.  Fingernails should be kept short, and the undersides should be cleaned frequently with soap and water. Because of their length, longer fingernails can harbor more dirt and bacteria than short nails, thus potentially contributing to the spread of infection.  Avoid biting or chewing nails and never rip or bite a hangnail.  Instead, clip it with a clean, sanitized nail trimmer.  Be sure to always clean and sterilize nail grooming tools before and after every use.

 

Wear Clean Clothes

Make a habit of changing clothes daily, especially after hot summer days.  Sweat and dirt can lead to unwanted bacteria and eventual sickness.  By ensuring that our body is clean and well presented, we are more assured in projecting a positive body image that reflects our personalities.  Self-esteem, confidence and motivation can all be altered by our body image.  By being well presented, clean and tidy, people can feel more confident, especially in social situations.

 

Change Out Bed Sheets & Pillow Covers

Humans, on average, spend roughly a third of their lives sleeping.  Therefore, they spend a huge chunk of time in bed.  Dead skin cells, oils, sweat, bodily fluids, and food crumbs will lead to a place where dust mites and bed bugs thrive.  Dust mites, although quite harmless in and of themselves, excrete droppings that are laden with allergens which can cause health complications. When inhaled, these allergens can provoke asthma and rhinitis and may also worsen eczema.

Change the sheets at least once every two weeks, but preferably once every week, in 120-140°F (49-60°C) water to kill bacteria and dust mites.  It is important to wash any soiled sheets promptly. Always wash sheets immediately after night sweats, incontinence, or food stains.