Personal Hygiene Tips
Hygiene refers to a set of practices that you perform to preserve your personal health. You could also expand the meaning to include the conditions and practices that help you maintain your health and prevent you from catching and spreading diseases.
Hygiene practices are viewed as good habits in some societies, same goes for our country Nigeria, such that if you don’t observe them, you are viewed as being disgusting and disrespectful. Imagine you opening your unbrushed mouth in a corporate environment and all the flowers around suddenly go limp! Embarrassing right? Lol.
Seriously, puberty in girls and boys throws up a lot of changes in the bodies of all adolescents. Your hair and face and maybe your general skin starts to get oily causing pimples and acne, then you start to sweat profusely in places you didn’t pay attention to in the past, and you start to sniff around yourself for new odours that are less than nice, in fact your face and hair may sometimes feel like you dipped them in engine oil! Someone I know used to say, “a dredging company should be able to get enough oil on my face!”. Oh and the hair! You start to grow hair on certain parts of your body-sometimes you get the hair in cool places, sometimes you get them in the most unwanted places like the pubic area! Good Lord!
Well, growing up gives you no other option. It just happens. And all these changes you might think of as gross or uncomfortable are simply a necessary part of natural growth. Now let’s look at how to work with these changes on our way to becoming the coolest hunks and babes of our time!
Body odour comes from the combination of sweat and bacteria on our skin. During puberty, the human body begins producing more hormones in order to support and control the body’s growth! One consequence is that you may find yourself sweating more than normal, and the sweat is likely accompanied by new, stronger odours. Your armpits, feet and genital areas, behind your ears and yourbelly-button is where you will sweat most.
The best way to manage your body odour is to practice cleanliness always. Take your bath twice a day with a mild soap and water. That will help to wash off or greatly reduce the amount of bacteria on your skin so that they won’t be able to cause more odour. Wearing clean clothes, socks and underwear will also help you keep clean.
If you are worried about the way your armpits smell, you might want to consider using deodorants or antiperspirants. Deodorants cover up the odour in your sweat while antiperspirants actually dry up the sweat. They come in different sizes and shapes- roll on, sticks, sprays etc.
During puberty, you will begin to have hair growth in certain parts of your body. You can’t escape hair growth as your hormones will make sure of that. You have to take care of these hairs though or else they might contribute to the unpleasant smell you will experience.
Areas where hair will show up includes your face, armpit, on the arms and on the legs. You should decide what to do with your body hair. In case you want to shave, make sure that your skin is not extra sensitive to scarring. There are different options like shaving with the traditional razor, electric razor, shaving creams and gels etc. Girls may decide to shave or leave their armpit hair and hair on the arms and legs while guys may want to do likewise but retain the hair on their faces and grow it in beards, whiskers and moustaches (The beard gang ;))
Whatever you choose to do with your body hair is your choice but there is no substitute for keeping them clean and dry always to prevent infections and unpleasant odours.
As for the hair on your head, wash with mild shampoos and scrub very gently. You can apply hair conditioner and rinse off. You may choose to shampoo twice a week in addition to washing during daily bath.
A combination of sweat and bacteria is what causes smelly feet in some people. It may not be as serious a problem as body odour but it can be a serious cause for concern when you visit friends and as our custom of respect demands, you have to take off your shoes before you enter. And then your smelly feet will cause everyone to choke! That’s how much of a problem it can be.
But it is no big deal. You can eliminate smelly feet easily if you are committed enough by following these steps:
- Wash your feet in warm water regularly. Use warm water because, it is better at killing off bacteria than cold water. Then towel dry every inch, nook and corner of your feet thoroughly.
- Choose socks that allow your feet to breathe. Do not wear a pair of socks for more than 1 day, no matter how clean they look.
- Avoid shoes or trainers with plastic linings, leather linings are better for sweat evaporation.
- Bacteria love dead skin cells, so use a pumice (that stone that looks like cheese), also called a foot stone to remove dead skin while taking your bath every day.
- Ask for special foot deodorant and/or antiperspirant at any pharmacist shop near you, but if you have athlete’s foot which is a fungal infection, do not use deodorants or antiperspirants until your infection has been
- properly treated by your healthcare provider
- If you do all these as suggested and you are still not satisfied, do not hesitate to consult a healthcare provider.
The most important part of mouth and teeth care takes place at home. Brushing and flossing properly along with visits to your dentist helps to keep tooth decay, mouth odour and bad breath away. Where your teeth and mouth are concerned, the old saying, prevention is better than cure is very true.
Your teeth’s major job is to chew your food. What you eat, how you eat it, when you eat it, are all factors that affect your teeth. The major culprit in tooth decay is sugar. Sugary foods and soft drinks or wine constantly expose your enamel (which serves to protect your teeth) to acids. Sweets of all sizes and shapes are the most harmful because they melt slowly in your mouth, thereby exposing your teeth to a long slow bath in harmful acids from the sugar in them. This is why choosing healthy eating habits will help protect your teeth as well as manage your weight.
Brushing helps your teeth and gums to come alive and healthy while fighting off gum disease.
Brushing and flossing are the two most important activities in maintaining the health of your teeth and mouth as a whole. Toothpastes contain friendly chemicals, detergents and foaming properties. The active ingredient is fluoride which helps to prevent cavities. Check your toothpaste at the point of buying to be sure that it contains fluoride.
The amount of time people spend brushing their teeth varies but it is advised that you should spend at least 2 minutes. Whatever amount of time you choose to spend should be enough to use the following tips:
- Hold your brush at angle 45 degrees and brush repeatedly in an up and down stroke, not sideways. Ensure that your brushing motion covers the chewing surface of your teeth. While brushing, do not apply excessive pressure because you might end up with injured gums, loose teeth, pulled back or receding gums and teeth sensitivity.
- Brush the inner parts and outer surfaces of your teeth the same way.
- Take extra time and care when brushing up the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Be sure to tip your brush and make sweeping motions with your brush to remove any extra pieces of food or plaque on and around the surfaces.
- Be sure to brush the roof of your mouth and lastly your tongue to remove decay-causing bacteria. The bacteria on the tongue and roof of your mouth can cause bad-odour if they are not properly brushed off.
- Brushing helps your teeth and gums to come alive and healthy while fighting off gum disease.
- Brushing and flossing are the two most important activities in maintaining the health of your teeth and mouth as a whole. Toothpastes contain friendly chemicals, detergents and foaming properties. The active ingredient is fluoride which helps to prevent cavities. Check your toothpaste at the point of buying to be sure that it contains fluoride.
As great as brushing sounds, it can’t do all the work of keeping your mouth clean and healthy. There are many nooks and corners in your mouth that your brush will not reach. For example; you brush may not be able to remove food particles between your teeth and plaque or tartar under your gumline especially if you wear braces.
Here are some helpful tips:
- If you have never flossed before, your gums might bleed a bit the first few times. Do not worry, this is normal and will subside once you begin to floss on a regular basis.
- Place the floss in between two teeth and move the floss gently back and forth. Do not force the floss deep into your gums. Repeat until you are done with all the spaces between your teeth.
It is advised that you visit your dentist every 6 months for check-ups. However, you do need to see your dentist promptly if you experience these:
- Pain when chewing
- Pain whenever anything cold or hot is placed in the mouth.
- Pain that is starts suddenly and is spreading
- Bleeding gums
- Mouth ulcers that refuse to heal. Lump or abscess on the gum or anywhere in the mouth.
Lastly, remember that prevention is better and cheaper than cure. Observe your oral and dental hygiene at all times so you can stay healthy! Or so you would still have teeth later on in life when you would like to be a cool parent or grandparent!