Individual standards for personal hygiene vary from person to person, and depend on factors including culture, personal preference and learned habits. Laying out specific objectives for personal hygiene helps you meet your own goals. Understanding the consequences of poor hygiene can serve as motivation for planning and accomplishing personal hygiene objectives.
According to the American Dental Association, regularly brushing, flossing and using antimicrobial mouthwashes help you maintain good oral hygiene. Proper brushing technique is vital for healthy teeth and gums. Brush twice daily, remembering to brush your tongue and inner teeth. Limit your intake of sweet snacks like candy and soda, which can lead to tooth decay. Replace your toothbrush every three or four weeks.
Hand washing prevents infections of all kinds. Food-borne illnesses, contagious infections like the flu and many other pathogens can be spread via unwashed hands. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water to effectively kill harmful microbes. Always wash hands before eating, after using the toilet, and after handling garbage, pets or raw meat. While antibacterial hand sanitizers are a convenient option, the friction created by soap-and-water washing is the most effective method for killing germs.
Sweat, oral bacteria, dirty clothing, and oily hair or skin are common sources of odor. Wash your armpits and apply deodorant with an antiperspirant to reduce body odor caused by perspiration. The feet are another source of odor you should wash daily. Odor-absorbent insoles can reduce odor caused by excessive foot sweating. Daily tooth brushing and flossing control bad breath. Limit consumption of strong-smelling foods like onions and garlic -- as well as tobacco products. Wash your clothes regularly using detergent and water to remove dirt and odor; old, tattered or stained clothing should be discarded.
Hair and Skin Care
Keep your hair clean and well-groomed. Choose a shampoo formulated for your particular hair type for best results. Thorough washing is important to remove dirt and buildup and should be done at least three times per week. Skin care contributes to a youthful and attractive appearance. Wash your face and body with mild soap and water regularly to remove oil and debris that cause acne breakouts. Regular exfoliation using a scrub brush or exfoliating lotion helps remove dead skin cells that build up and clog pores.