Hygiene deals with the importance of cleanliness in staying healthy.2  Good hygiene not only makes a person more presentable, but also helps keep germs from spreading.1  Children who develop good personal hygiene habits are more likely to be successful and healthy throughout their lives.

Handwashing is probably the single most important way to prevent the spread of disease.3  Children often don’t think twice about going straight from cleaning a birdcage to eating a cookie.  By washing hands with warm water for 20 seconds, children can remove germs from the surface of the skin, making it less likely that these germs will end up in their mouths.5

Other important hygiene practices include bathing regularly, laundering clothing, and brushing hair and teeth.  Brushing teeth twice a day is important to prevent cavities and avoid bad breath.1

Puberty dramatically changes hygiene requirements.  Physical changes such as oilier hair and stronger body odor make daily bathing essential. Adolescents must lean how to shave, use deodorant, and deal with acne, among other changes.4

Cleanliness is important. In addition to an increased risk of illness, poor hygiene can lower self-esteem, increase the risk of depression, and lead to social isolation. You can help encourage your mentee to develop habits of good hygiene to last a lifetime. Find tips in the article “Scenario: Showering,” in this section, or in the resources listed below.


Hygiene Basics

Personal Hygiene - Taking Care of Your Body.”

Teaching Kids Hygiene Habits to Last a Lifetime


1. “Hygiene Basics for Kids

2. “The Effects of Poor Personal Hygiene

3. “Teen Hygiene Tips

4. “Hand Washing” 


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What Do You Think?: Dental Hygiene

This article describes a scenario of a child who loves sweets and whose teeth are beginning to hurt because it's been a long time since he has seen the dentist. A series of interactive questions are included to help you discuss this scenario with your mentee, along with facts about dental care and tips for helping your mentee keep their teeth healthy.

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