Importance of Personal Hygiene in Children

Written by sally syak
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Importance of Personal Hygiene in Children
Encourage proper hygiene habits early in childhood. (time to wash image by Renata Osinska from Fotolia.com)

Personal hygiene is required for more than just washing away the dirt of the day. Practicing proper personal hygiene helps prevent the spread of disease and infection. Young children need assistance and guidance with their personal hygiene to ensure their health and to prepare them for independent care as they mature and develop. We are not born with the information and skills needed to keep our bodies clean and healthy; these skills need to be taught and encouraged.

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Dental Hygiene

Proper dental hygiene is important to protect against tooth decay and infections. Wipe an infant's mouth and first teeth daily with a damp washcloth. After the age of 2, begin using a small amount of toothpaste and a toothbrush to assist a young child with cleaning his teeth. As your child grows and matures, help her build the skills necessary to complete this task on her own. Always supervise young children with the use of a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Teach your child not to swallow any toothpaste, as ingesting too much fluoride can be dangerous. Regular visits to the dentist should begin after the first birthday.

Bathing

The importance of bathing begins in infancy. Regular bathing removes body odour and germs that cause common infections. Whether to bath your young child daily, every other day or twice a week is up to you and your child's level of cleanliness. During the warm summer months, more frequent bathing is usually necessary and more active children may require frequent bathing year round. Children with sensitive skin or eczema may need to be bathed less frequently. Make bath time more pleasant by adding water toys, soap crayons or bubbles.

Hair Care

Keeping hair clean and brushed is important cosmetically. Some children do not enjoy having their hair washed and can make this process quite difficult. It is not usually necessary to wash a young child's hair daily. Washing it once or twice a week is generally adequate.

Nail Care

Good nail hygiene involves regularly clipping the nails and removing dirt and debris from under the nail. Germs can hide under long nails and if skin is scratched with long dirty nails it may cause an infection. Use a nail brush to remove debris from under the nails. Another nail problem is dry, brittle nails and nail beds which can be a haven for infection. A gentle moisturising lotion can be applied regularly if this is a problem.

Hand Washing

The need for regular and thorough hand washing cannot be understated. Hand washing, when preformed correctly, is the most proven method of reducing the spread of infection and disease. Germs are often transmitted by touching your ears, eyes, nose or mouth with dirty fingers. Germs cannot be seen and hands will often feel and appear clean after going to the bathroom or playing outside. It is especially important to encourage regular hand washing before eating or putting anything in the mouth.

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