Why Is Personal Hygiene So Important?

Man washing hands in kitchen sink
A man washes his hands in a sink. (Image: Image Source/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Personal hygiene refers to the comprehensive cleaning of and caring for your body. Maintaining good personal hygiene includes bathing, washing your hands, brushing your teeth and wearing clean clothing. It also includes making safe and healthy decisions when interacting with others. Implementing good personal hygiene practices has both health and social benefits.

Health Benefits

Keeping your body clean is vital in combating and preventing illness -- both for yourself and for those around you. Washing your hands can prevent the spread of germs from one person to another or from one part of your body to another. Flossing and brushing your teeth can reduce the likelihood of oral and other diseases.

Social Benefits

In many cultures, poor personal hygiene is considered offensive or a sign of illness. Caring for your body regularly can reduce body odor and improve your personal appearance, subsequently improving others' perceptions of you. This is particularly important in situations in which proper etiquette is expected or required, such as at work or school. Good personal hygiene is also helpful in improving your own self-image.

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