154 Staying Healthy
caring for yourself
infections of the urine
It is best to wash with soap and clean water every day, if
• wash your hands before eating or preparing food, after
passing urine or stool, and before and after caring for a
baby or someone who is sick.
• wash the genitals every day with mild soap and water.
But do not douche. The vagina cleans and protects
itself by making a small amount of wetness or discharge.
Douching washes away this protection and makes a
woman more likely to get a vaginal infection.
• pass urine after having sex. This helps prevent infections
of the urine system (but will not prevent pregnancy).
• wipe carefully after passing stool. Always wipe from
front to back. Wiping forward can spread germs and
worms into the urinary opening and vagina.
You can make a
toothbrush to keep
your teeth clean.
Protect your teeth
Taking good care of the teeth is important because:
• strong, healthy teeth are needed to chew and
digest food well.
• painful cavities (holes in the teeth caused by
decay) and sore gums can be prevented by good
• decayed or rotten teeth caused by lack of
cleanliness can lead to serious infections that may
affect other parts of the body.
• people who do not care for their teeth are more
likely to lose them when they get old.
Teeth should be cleaned carefully twice a day. This
removes the germs that cause decay and tooth loss.
Clean the surface of all front and back teeth, then
clean between the teeth and under the gums. Use a
soft brush, tooth stick, or finger wrapped with a piece
of rough cloth. Toothpaste is good but not necessary.
Salt, baking soda, or even plain, clean water will also work.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012