Hygiene is important, but it can certainly backfire on you. There is such a thing as being over-hygienic. If you are obsessed with your own hygiene, read on to see what mistakes you might be making.
Over-brushing teeth. Are you fanatical about brushing your teeth? Is it the first thing you do after a meal? If so, you may be brushing away precious enamel. Tooth enamel can soften after eating certain foods, so it is best to wait at least 30 minutes before brushing to ensure the enamel has time to re-solidify. If you’re concerned about your oral health, stop scrubbing post-meals and try swishing water around in your mouth instead. That should be sufficient enough to remove excess food residue. Or, try that popular Ayurvedic technique, oil pulling. Swishing coconut oil or sesame oil around your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes in the morning can significantly reduce the growth of unwanted microorganisms — and makes your mouth feel super clean.
Wearing underwear to sleep. A lot of people just sleep in their underwear, while others prefer ‘jammies. However, it may be best to not wear anything at all. Sleeping with a breezy bottom allows your body to naturally dry out from the day, which reduces the chance of unwanted bacterial growth (same goes for socks while you’re sleeping). With yeast infections on the rise, you can’t be too careful. If you cannot sleep in the nude, wear loose clothing and forego underwear to allow your nether regions to breathe.
Not wearing underwear during the day. If no underwear is good at night, it must be good all the time, right? Not quite. Nixing underwear during the daytime, especially if you wear tight pants, can cause chaffing. You’re better off wearing breathable cotton underwear (and changing regularly if you sweat a lot), although going commando once in a while isn’t so horrible. Just make sure that whatever garments you do wear are sensitive enough to discourage chaffing and the like.
Overdoing it with antibacterials. Whether you spray your countertop with antibacterials or you keep a mini antibacterial hand soap on your person at all times, relying on antibacterials is not great for your health. Antibacterials kill ALL the germs, meaning the goods ones get decimated along with the bad. Good bacteria can protect you from disease, so you’re essentially doing yourself a disservice by constantly disinfecting your world. Also, studies have shown that antibacterial soaps are no more effective than regular soaps and carry the increased risk of containing endocrine-disrupting triclosan.
Wearing strong deodorant. Most deodorant/antiperspirant is loaded with aluminum. Unfortunately, this aluminum that makes commercial deodorants so powerful is also toxic to your body—it is linked to an increased risk for both breast cancer and Alzheimer’s. Look for a natural deodorant made from clay, baking soda, coconut oil, arrowroot starch and/or essential oils. While these won’t necessarily prevent sweating, they will inhibit the growth of stinky underarm bacteria. Anyway, sweating is a natural bodily function that helps rid the body of toxins, so embrace it!
Going heavy on the fluoride. Using fluoride-infused toothpaste isn’t necessarily going to prevent cavities. There is a heated debate as to whether fluoride is beneficial to our teeth. What is most worrisome, however, is that the amount of fluoride in a tube of toothpaste is extremely toxic if swallowed by a small child. Is it even worth the risk? Instead of dousing your teeth in fluoride, try fluoride-free varieties, like Dr. Bronner’s. Cavity prevention is important, but you can take other, safer measures to keep yourself and your family healthy. Plus, you’re probably already getting plenty fluoride from your dentist and/or the water supply for anti-cavity benefits.