Personal Care and Hygiene
Hygiene is more than just being clean. It is defined as the many practices that help people be and stay healthy. Practicing good personal hygiene is smart for two reasons. First, it helps prevent people from catching and spreading illness and disease. Second, it helps people feel good about themselves and their bodies. In American society, cleanliness is an important issue; poor hygiene is seen as unacceptable and unhealthy.
Good hygiene includes thoroughly and regularly washing one's body (especially hands), washing one's hair, brushing and flossing teeth, and caring for gums. These grooming habits will reduce the threat of bacteria that constantly reside on the body. While a certain amount of bacteria are harmless, and even beneficial, to the body, a build-up of bacteria can harm a person's health.
As children grow older, their bodies go through a number of changes. While good hygiene is important for everyone at any age, it can require greater care at the onset of puberty. When puberty arrives (usually between the ages of eight and sixteen), it means the body is becoming sexually mature. Hormones, certain chemicals made by one's body, produce both physical and emotional changes. It is the physical changes that require greater attention when it comes to hygiene. For a young girl or boy, this means taking more time and care cleaning one's body, especially the sexual organs, dealing with acne, bad breath, and a stronger body odor, as well as doing more to prevent cavities and gum disease.
This chapter will focus on all aspects of hygiene and the ways in which a person should care for the skin, hair, nails, eyes, ears, genitals, teeth, and gums.