Unlocking wellness: The power of personal hygiene for a healthy body and a happy mind

By Jane Babirye
On 19 August 2023 at 08:14

When we hear the phrases "health and body," we normally think of nutrition and exercise. We rarely, if ever, consider hygiene yet it is critical to our health and should not be disregarded. According to scientists, two-thirds of our health is due to hygiene.

What is hygiene?

Hygiene is any approach or action used to keep things healthy and clean. While this concept covers a wide scope, our focus here revolves around "a healthy body and a happy mind," placing personal cleanliness at the forefront.

Personal hygiene involves the routine cleansing of the external aspects of our bodies.

This extends to dental hygiene, which isn’t solely about teeth but encompasses the mouth as a whole. In fact, oral care involves not only teeth but also the mouth itself.

To maintain a healthy mouth and a radiant smile, the American Dental Association recommends brushing teeth for at least 2 minutes, twice daily – once before breakfast and once before bedtime.

Dentists highly recommend toothpaste with fluoride content, as it effectively reduces acid production by bacteria, stemming from plaque, and prevents tooth decay.

Addressing body hygiene, it’s important to recognize that our skin, being the largest organ, plays a pivotal role in safeguarding our internal systems. Thus, proper skincare is paramount. This includes regular showers at least once a day to cleanse the skin from dirt and pollutants such as sweat.

Handwashing has taken on greater significance, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the pandemic has waned, the importance of frequent handwashing remains, as it remains a fundamental defense against the spread of germs and bacteria.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends handwashing in the following instances:

  • Before, during, and after food preparation
  • Before consuming food
  • Before and after assisting someone vomiting or experiencing diarrhea
  • Before and after treating a wound or cut
  • After using the restroom
  • After changing diapers or tending to a child’s restroom needs
  • After sneezing, coughing, or blowing one’s nose
  • After touching waste or contaminated surfaces/objects
  • After interacting with pets or pet-related items, including food

Nail care is another essential aspect of personal hygiene. Neglected nails, especially when long and unkempt, can harbor dirt and germs, facilitating the spread of bacteria. Regular trimming of fingernails and toenails helps minimize the risk of spreading illnesses.

Maintaining good personal hygiene offers benefits beyond disease prevention; it bolsters self-confidence and self-esteem. While adhering to recommended sanitary practices can sometimes pose challenges in a tight-budget scenario, a few simple strategies can help you maintain cleanliness without breaking the bank.

Dental health plays a pivotal role, with a smile being deemed the finest cosmetic one can wear. Furthermore, regular smiling offers health advantages, including stress reduction, immune system enhancement, lowered blood pressure, and potentially increased lifespan. However, it’s important to acknowledge that bad breath can detract from even the most dazzling smile.

To ensure both a captivating smile and fresh breath, consider brushing your tongue, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, preventing prolonged dry mouth (even during fasting, ensure you stay hydrated), chewing gum after meals, and, if fluoride toothpaste isn’t affordable, substitutes like baking soda, sea or table salt, or diluted hydrogen peroxide can suffice.

For an odor-free body, thorough bathing using clean water and soap is crucial, with special attention to be paid to the ’private areas’ where sweat accumulates most. "The human body boasts millions of sweat glands," as reported by Medical News Today (MNT). When germs break down, body odor ensues.

To maintain short hair in the private area, consider shaving or waxing. Avoid wearing soiled clothing, especially those worn the previous day and not yet washed but have been subjected to sweat.

Always use deodorant. In case of financial constraints, alternatives such as lemon juice, baking soda, or alcohol can be excellent substitutes.

Nails also warrant attention as a frequent manicure is the key for well-kept finger nails. You can also get a personal manicure kit to use on days when you don’t have any money.