“Head, shoulders, knees, and toes […] and eyes, and ears, and mouth, and nose” maybe just the lyrics to a popular kids’ song to you, but for some, it represents the order of their hygiene routine. A personal care regimen is an important part of adult life, but why?
Aside from shielding your family, friends, and coworkers from offensive odors, a standard personal hygiene program also protects your body from illness. Read on to learn about four daily health practices and how they contribute to your overall wellness.
1. Skin Care
No hygiene routine is complete without a shower or bath. In addition to the obvious odour-fighting benefits, cleaning your skin helps to remove dead skin and promotes skin cell regeneration. To understand just how important skincare and bathing is to your overall health, consider Discovery Health’s article, “What if I Never Took a Bath?”
According to Discovery, if you go without bathing for an extended period of time, “Your chance of infection goes up. [And] you’ll probably itch a lot more, and this could lead to an even higher risk of infection.” Your lazy showering habits may be costing you more than you think. Lather up in the name of health, if not in the name of your next girlfriend!
2. Oral Care
Brushing your teeth is likely a twice-daily habit you formed before you could even hold the toothbrush — if it isn’t in your routine, you may need to look into dental pricing promptly. Not so fast — your mouth and your hygiene reputation aren’t squeaky clean until you floss. An NHS Information Centre report shows that only 22 percent of adults in the UK floss daily.
This appalling statistic sheds an ultra-bright dentist-chair-light on the nearly 78 percent of people who are at risk for disease due lack of complete oral care. WebMD notes, “Chronic inflammation from gum disease has been associated with the development of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, blockages of blood vessels, and strokes.”
Advocacy for dental care has also become an increasingly important issue around the globe. Case Western Reserve University, a school that specializes in social work and dentistry, stated that more volunteer dentists are needed and that some patients have to wait up to nearly 5 weeks for an appointment.
The plaque that’s between your teeth can become dislodged, and over time, can build up in your bloodstream. Brushing and flossing daily keeps your teeth and gums healthy and ensures a strong heart.
3. Nail Care
Nail care may seem like a beauty routine with cosmetic benefits only, but there are health benefits hidden just below the surface of those shiny manicures. Poor or complete lack of nail care could have some nasty side effects, including infection and fungal growth. Not to mention the number of infectious diseases carried on unclean hands, up to 80 percent of which can be transferred by touch.
Regularly cleaning and trimming fingernails can help keep harmful bacteria (and dirt) from building up under the nail. Ensuring a clean, dry environment for your toenails can also prevent fungal infections such as athlete’s foot.
4. Brain Care
Although this doesn’t sound like a hygiene routine, it is, and an important one at that. No, there will be no brainwashing here — just good old fashioned sleep. That’s right: Getting a good night’s sleep is actually akin to cleaning your brain. Evidence shows that while the brain sleeps, it’s in detoxify mode. That means it’s busy cleaning up all the stress and thinking you’ve dirtied it with that day.
Skipping this standard health practice could have major consequences. According to an infographic by the Huffington Post, sleep deprivation makes you more likely to get cancer, become obese, and even have a heart attack. Huffington Post also reports, “[…] infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.” Skimp on the routines above, plus sleep, and you’ll likely have a cold coming on fast.
It’s time to hum along to your new favorite tune — hopefully, it isn’t stuck in your head too long. Caring for all your body parts, including your brain, is a sure way to stay healthy.