Acne is one problem proper hygiene can help address.

How Does Teens' Hygiene Affect Their Lives?

by Jill Kokemuller

Being a teenager is hard. Everything goes through changes during the teen years -- the body changes, hormones fluctuate and relationships and social obligations shift. Seemingly all at once, teen problems magnify. Following proper hygiene should not be one of these problems. If hygiene is neglected, it can lead to difficulties in other aspects of the teen's life.


Lack of hygiene affects a teen's health. Neglecting tooth brushing can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Washing infrequently allows bacteria and germs to build up; this can cause skin rashes and bacterial infections. It can also spread illnesses, such as influenza, that can be contracted by contact. For girls, improper menstrual hygiene, like infrequently changing tampons or sanitary pads, leads to an increased risk of developing reproductive tract infections or toxic shock syndrome, according to the Indian Journal of Community Medicine and the University of Florida Pediatric Residency Program.

Social Acceptance

Middle and high schools are full of bullies. Susan Dougherty of the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections advises that if a teenager has bad breath, body odor, greasy hair or wears the same dirty clothes every day, these things will make him a target for bullying behavior and will ostracize him from his peers. Even friendly kids don't want to hang around or spend long periods of time with someone who smells bad. Showering, using deodorant and brushing teeth daily will help kids fit in and be socially acceptable to other teens.

Mental Well-Being

Being clean, smelling nice and having clear skin, shiny hair and white teeth help boost confidence. If teens know they look their best, they feel better about themselves. They also learn better in school. Jennifer Davidson, a reporter for Ozarks Public Radio, interviewed school children and found that if they are made fun of or picked on by other students because of the way they look or smell, they are less likely to attend classes on a regular basis. They will keep to themselves and may become depressed, which would affect both their studies and quality of life in general.

Basic Hygiene

There are a few basic rules of hygiene that teenagers should follow to combat the effects of their changing bodies. The routine takes more time than they had to spend previously on hygiene, so expect teens to spend more time in the bathroom. Pediatrician Tanya Remer Altmann, M.D., recommends on WebMD's website that showering should be done daily. Faces need washed twice daily as well. Hair washing can be done daily or less frequently if the hair is dry rather than oily. Deodorant or antiperspirant is a daily necessity, and clothes should be washed after each wearing. Teeth need brushed twice a day and flossed once daily, advises the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

About the Author

Jill Kokemuller has been writing since 2010, with work published in the "Daily Gate City." She spent six years working in a private boarding school, where her focus was English, algebra and geometry. Kokemuller is an authorized substitute teacher and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Iowa.

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