Home Economics

The Human Mouth: Structure and Care of the Teeth

The Mouth and Teeth

Mouth care includes the care of the teeth, the lips, and the whole area of the mouth. When the mouth is not well cared for, it smells and the teeth become bad.

the mouth and teeth

Structure of the Teeth

To care for the teeth properly, it is necessary to learn about its structure. There are thirty-two teeth in the upper and lower jaws of an adult. Children usually have twenty-eight teeth because they are still young. A tooth is made up of many parts. The outer part of the tooth is called the enamel and it is white. Its function is to protect the dentine. The pulp cavity is at the centre of the tooth and contains nerves and blood vessels. The gum helps to hold the tooth firmly into the jawbone.

Materials for caring for the Mouth and Teeth

Mouth and teeth care requires the following materials: toothbrush. toothpaste, toothpick. chewing stick and lipgloss.

Ways of Taking Care of the Mouth and Teeth

1. Use either chewing stick or toothpaste and toothbrush with clean water to clean your teeth everyday. It is necessary to clean the teeth early in the morning before bathing. Chewing sticks are of different types and usually bitter. Some are not very hard while some are very hard. Use the one of your choice. When used properly, they keep the teeth clean with fresh breath.

2. Use toothbrush with soft bristles to wash your teeth and other areas in the mouth.

3, Use toothpaste that contains fluoride to help strengthen the enamel.

Things to do to the teeth daily

1. Clean the teeth at least twice a day, especially in the morning and before going to sleep. .

2. Use toothpaste and a medium or soft-bristled brush or softened chewing stick so that the enamel is protected.

3. Brush the teeth away from the gum to avoid injuring it; that is, move the toothbrush up or down. This should be done gently.

4. Brush all surfaces of the teeth not only those that show.

Ways of caring for the lips

Many people apply lipstick to the lips to make them soft and beautiful. There are different types of lipsticks available in the market. During the harmattan period, our lips become dry and we need some oil to prevent them from cracking. Petroleum jelly and menthelated cream are good for glossing the lips while grown-up ladies use lipstick. These come in many colours and are used to blend with the skin colour and clothes. The following steps are the steps for applying the lipstick.

1. Solten your lips with a moisturizer.

2. Apply a coat of gloss for a shining finish.

3. Apply an outline with a lip liner.

4. Apply the lipstick lightly and evenly and observe the result in a mirror.

5. Consider another coating if necessary.

6. Blot the lips with tissue paper.

Prevention and control of mouth and teeth problems

1. Sweets and sugary things spoil the teeth if you take too many of them. Always brush your teeth after you have taken them.

2. Avoid the use of knife to pick dirt from the teeth.

3. Avoid the use of pins or very sharp objects to pick meat or other fibrous food items that hang in between the teeth. Use only toothpick.

4. If you feel any pain in any of the teeth, see a dentist for treatment.

5. Avoid using hand to pull your teeth. If anyone of them is infected, or if you have toothache, see a doctor.

6. Use glossy lipstick to prevent dryness of lips.

7. Avoid scraping dry lips with the teeth as it can cause sore.

The Human Eye: Structure, Function & Care of the Eye

The Eye

Our eyes are a very important part of our face. Apart from seeing with them, they often show how we feel within us. When we laugh, our eyes laugh with us, but when we are sad our eyes cloud up with tears. It is therefore necessary to take good care of the eyes.


Structure of the Eye

The eye consists of many parts and each part performs different functions. If we understand each part, it will help us to know how the eye functions and how to care for it. Many parts of the eye are hidden and so cannot be seen.

The eye is made up of the following parts: eyelids

i. Eye balls

ii. Eye lashes

iii. Pupil

iv. Lens

v. Eyebrow

vi. Iris

vii. Cornea

viii. Retina

ix. Aqueous humour

x. Vitreous humour

xi. Tear gland.

Functions of parts of the Eye

The Eyelid:

This protects the eye from objects that may drop in it. It is very sensitive.

The Eyeball:

This is connected to the optical nerve and it is used for seeing.

The Eye lashes:

This contains hairs that protect the eye fmm dust and heavy wind.

The Pupil:

The pupil helps to control the amount of light that enters the eye.

The Lens:

It helps to form image on the retina of the eye.

The Eyebrow:

This does not allow water or sweat to how into the eyeballs.

The Iris:

This functions to maintain the ability of the pupil to control the amount of light that enters into the eye.

The Cornea:

It prevents dust and dirt from passing through the pupil of the eye.

The Retina:

The retina forms the image of an object in the eye.

The Tear glands:

They help to produce tears in the eye which carries any foreign substance that has entered the eye along with them. They cause tears to flow out when one is crying.

The Aqueous humour:

This is a transparent fluid that helps to maintain the shape and provide a moist situation inside the eye.

The Vitreous humour:

This is a colourless transparent fluid that fills the back of the eyeball.

Equipment and Materials for Eye care

Cosmetics are usually used for caring for the eye. They include: eyeliners or kohI/tiro, eye pencil, eye shadow and mascara.

Procedure for Care of the Eye

There are two methods for the care of the eye. They are:

a. The traditional method; and

b. The modern method.

The Traditional Method

This is a method used by ladies in the rural areas for their eye make-up. This method involves the use of eyeliner in form of kohl, used mostly by old women in the rural areas. Kohl or tiro is usually powdery and used to darken areas around the eyes. It is usually stored in little leather or metal container. It is applied with a little metallic stick, and it is still in use in many rural communities.

The Modern Method

The method of eye make-up practised today in Nigeria was initially brought to the country by those who travelled abroad and returned with them. It involves the use of eye shadows, mascara, and eyeliners to make the face look attractive.

Eye shadows come in different forms. They can be in the form of a pencil or powder. Eye make-up should be applied in the right amount in order not to look funny.

Prevention and Control of Eye Problems

Treat the eyes with care. In doing so, you should always obey the following rules:

1. When you are reading or sewing, make sure you hold your book, sewing or other handwork materials in such a way that it is not too near or too far from your eyes.

2. You should also make sure that you always use light that is neither too bright nor too dull.

3. Sometimes, the sun is very bright and we need to protect our eyes with sunglasses which have dark lenses.

4. Do not read in the bright sunlight without protecting your eyes.

5. If lanterns or candles are being used for reading, do not read for too long hours without resting your eyes.

6. Sitting too close to a television set can affect your eyes, therefore, avoid it.

7. Avoid sharing eye care equipment with somebody with eye problems.

8. Report any eye problem immediately to the doctor.

9. Always bath your eye with clean water and use clean towel.

10. Avoid self medication in controlling eye problems.

The Human Ear and Nose: Structure, Function and Care

The Ear

You all know how important your ears are, especially for hearing. Therefore, they require good care. The outer ear is the part seen from the outside, the middle and the Inner parts are covered by skin and muscle.

human ear and nose

Structure of the Ear

To be able to care for the ear, it is necessary to understand its structure. The ear is divided into three main parts: the outer, the middle and the inner ear.

Functions of the Ears

The ears perform the following functions:

1. We use them for hearing; the outer ear which is like a funnel picks up sound or noise and is received by the ear drum. The ear drum in turn transmits the sound to the inner ear where it is relayed to the brain. In the brain, the sound is interpreted into a meaningful message. There are some tiny hairs at the entrance of the outer ear which prevent dust from entering the inner ear.

2. They help us to maintain our balance.

Care of the Ear

One important material for ear care is the cotton bud.

Ways of taking care of the Ear

1. The outer ear should always be washed carefully and dried with a towel.

2. If objects or insects enter the ear, it is necessary to remove them immediately either by putting a few drops of warm water or drops of olive oil into the ear.

3. When girls are born, their ears are pierced and small gold earrings are put in their ears.  Do not put on very heavy earrings that could cut your outer ears. .

4. There are some wax inside the ear which protects and prevents dirt and small objects from entering the ears. When the wax reaches the outer ear it should be removed very carefully with fluffy cotton buds. Never use match stick, pin or pen cover as they can damage the ear drum.

5. Water should not be allowed to enter the ear and remain there as this will disturb the eardrum and block the sound passage.

Prevention and control of Ear problems

1. When insects or other objects enter the ear and are not easily removed with water or simple liquid or cotton buds, see a qualified medical doctor to avoid serious damage to the eardrum. Serious ear damage may cause deafness.

2. When the ear is swollen or is bringing out pus, see the doctor immediately.

3. Small earrings should be used for small ears. School girls should use small earrings, while adults could use bigger earrings for occasions. When earrings are used and they are causing sore to the ear. they should be removed and the sore should be treated immediately to prevent more infections.

The Nose

The nose is used to breathe and smell. The human nose is of different shapes.

Structure of the Nose

The nose is at the centre of the face. It has two nostrils with tiny hairs in them, helping to hold back dust. The nostrils’ tube leads into the brain through the nose ridge.

Functions of the Nose

1. The nose is used for smelling.

2. The nose is used for breathing.

3. The nose is used for sending out excess mucus from the head.

4. The nose is used for sneezing.

5. The nose helps to prevent dust or insects from entering the lungs through the hair in the


Materials used for Care of the Nose

The materials used for nose care are very simple. They include the following: balm or vapour rub, small pair of scissors, clean handkerchief or tissue paper.

Ways of Caring for the Nose

1. When air passage is blocked, the nose should be cleared of any mucus or dust.

2. Always use soft clean handkerchief or tissue paper for cleaning the nose.

3. Use an appropriate balm or ointment to clear the nose. When it is blocked by cold, see the doctor for treatment.

4.  When the hairs of the nostrils are too long and coming out of the nostrils, it makes the nose look ugly. Use a pair of small scissors to reduce the hair in the nostrils regularly.

Prevention and Control of Nose Problems

1. Avoid putting any sharp object into the nose.

2. When clearing the mucus or dust from the nose, snort repeatedly before wiping with a handkerchief.

3. If there is a boil or pimple inside the nose, do not press open with force. Always see the doctor for advice and treatment.

4. Do not pull out the hair that grows inside the nostrils with the hand. This can cause injury to the nose.

The Hair: Structure, Qualities and Hair Care

Sofa Chair

There are different types of hair. Hair can be curly or straight, short or long, hard or soft, oily or dry. Hair can also have different colours. In most parts of Africa, people have black or dark brown hair. Most Europeans have straight hair which can sometimes be brown in colour. Hair that is well cared for looks clean and neat. A stand of hair has three layers. These are the cuticle, the cortex and the medulla.

The human skin and hair image credit: webmd.com

The Cuticle

This is the outside layer of hair. It has scales which make the hair to shine. When the scales are dead or injured,the hair becomes dull and it splits. The scales can be injured or killed if the hair is over-treated with hair relaxer or over-heated combs or if washed with harsh chemical. Too much back combing and rough brushing can also affect the scales of the hair.

The Cortex

This is the middle layer of the hair. It makes the hair stretch and return to its size. The cortex also contains the natural pigment which gives the hair its colour. When chemicals like hair relaxer is applied to the hair, it becomes straight. This means that the chemicals or relaxers used have relaxed the cortex of the hair. Neutralizers which are chemicals used to stop the action of some other chemicals like relaxers should be used so that the cortex is not damaged.

The Medulla

This is the central part of the hair. It is very thin and helps the hair to grow. Sometimes, when hair is very light, it has no medulla.

Qualities of Healthy Hair

It is necessary to understand the qualities of healthy hair. This will help you understand what care you should always give to your hair to make it healthy. A healthy hair must possess the following qualities:

a. It must look shiny or glossy

b. It must not be too brittle or break easily

c. It must grow; and

d. It must not smell badly.

Materials For Hair Care 

To look after your hair properly, you need the following basic hair care tools: combs, brushes, mirrors, plating threads and a towel. These are all you need for a simple hair care.


Combs are used for dividing the hair into sections for plaiting, straightening the hair or for keeping the hair smooth and nice-looking. There are different types of combs and they are used for different types of hair and for different purposes.

For hard textured hair, you may need a big wooden or plastic comb. For soft hair, you may need a fine toothed plastic comb. Afro combs, usually made of wood, metal or plastic are good for long kinky hair.

The wooden comb needs to be kept oily to prevent splitting or cracking. If the teeth of the comb splits, it will cause the hair to break. Wooden combs are very good for sectioning when plaiting the hair. Their points are well trimmed to cut unclustered sections. Rubber combs are very common. They are very cheap but often have jagged edges that can injure the scalp of the head. Make use of the appropriate comb for each type of hair because there are differnt combs for combing natural hair, permed hair, curly hair and plaited hair.

Always keep your combs clean after use by removing any hair, dirt or oil hanging on the teeth. Wash the combs regularly.


Brushes can be used to straighten the hair and remove knots. There are different types of brushes. There are some for short hair and some for long hair. People with very short hair require brush especially if the hair is very thick. Long hair like that of the Fulani or relaxed hairs require the use of long bristled brush. The hair should be brushed regularly to remove dirt and to keep it shining and neat.

Some brushes are made of harsh nylon, some are made of plastic with bold strands while some are rubber cushioned and are best for brushing the hair. Avoid the use of harsh nylon brushes as they may injure the scalp and make the hair break. Bristle brushes are good for the appropriate type of hair.

A brush can last for a long time if it is well cared for. Rubber cushioned brushes are very good for brushing and for massaging the scalp. When brushing long hair, it is good to divide the hair into sections and brush in strokes from the scalp to the tip of the hair.


A mirror is very essential in hair care to enable you see how your hair looks.

Plaiting Threads

Plaiting threads are usually black. They are of different qualities. Some are made from cotton while some are made from plastic. Some are thin while some are thick. Thin threads are always used in multiple strands. The plastic threads are thick and can also be used in multiple strands.

However, cotton threads are better for achieving soft and long hair texture. Threads of different colours and other adornments can be used to beautify the hair.


Towels are necessary for drying the hair after washing. Towels must always be kept dry and clean.

Procedures for Hair Grooming and Hair Styles

Whatever the style of hair we want, it is necessary to keep the hair clean. The best way is to wash the hair. Therefore, it is necessary to learn something about grooming and caring for the hair. Hair grooming involves shampooing the hair to dissolve the grease and remove any dirt in the hair. Styling, plaiting, curling and perming may also be regarded as some ways of maintaining, grooming and caring for the hair.

hair grooming and styles in nigeria

Steps to Follow in Shampooing the Hair

The following are some steps to follow when shampooing the hair.

1. Wet the hair with water and keep your fingers apart to allow water to sink into the scalp.

2. Apply shampoo and allow it to get down to the scalp. Your fingers should be kept apart and used to massage the hair. Do not scratch the hair too hard as this will injure the scalp; apply the shampoo thoroughly.

3. Rinse well with warm water. Clean the hair with a clean and dry towel and use an ideal conditioner for the hair.

Hair Styles

With modern development, western hairstyles were introduced into the country. Based on this development, hair styles can be categorized into natural, plaiting, perming and curling.

Natural Styling

Many Nigerian adults wear their hair in its natural style. This is most common among among men and youths who prefer cutting their hair short to suit the shape of the face. Most of these hair cuts are done in barbershops and hair dressing salons, where there are experts to cut the hair to shape and style. The main tools used are scissors and clippers.


There are two major types of plaiting the hair. We can hand-plait the hair (weaving) or thread-plait it. There are many styles in hair plaiting; some of which are traditional while some are foreign. Some of these styles are very simple while others are complex. The simple plaiting can be done at home or by friends while the stylish plaiting is usually done in hair dressing salons. In the salon, hair attachments of different lengths are used to increase the length of the hair

Hair attachments of different lengths are used to increase the length of the hair. Hair attachments should be cared for like natural hair in the following ways:

i. Tie each hair attachment into a long bundle

ii. Put it into about six knots with a thin strand of the hair piece

iii. Squeeze-wash it along its length with shampoo

iv. Rinse well like the natural hair; and

iv. Dry it naturally or with hair dryer

Beads and shells are associated with hair-plaiting. They are woven into plaited hair styles. This is seen as a means of adding beauty to the hair.

Steps in Hand-Plaiting the Hair

Good hand-plaiting usually requires somebody to do it for you. Simple thread-plaiting or weaving can be done by yourself. The following steps must be followed in thread-plaiting:

i. Plait the hair after a shampoo

ii. Start by slightly oiling the hair

iii. Comb hair well

iv. Divide the hair into sections based on the style you want

v. Weave the hair in sections

vi. For thread-plaiting; double or triple the black plaiting thread

vii. Knot it at one end after deciding on the length you need

viii. Take one section of hair at a time and wind the thread round it firmly and evenly from base to the tip.

Perming of Hair

There are two types of permed hair. There is tje temporary perm and the permanent perm.

The Temporary Perm

This type of perming involves relaxing the hair with a hot comb and putting the hair in curlers or rollers. If such hair is washed, it goes back to its natural form. This method of using a hot comb to perm the hair is usually called straightening the hair.

Steps in Straightening the Hair

The following are steps in straightening the hair:

i. Shampoo the hair

ii. Rinse well and apply hair conditioner and rinse again

iii. Dry up the hair with a towel

iv. Comb the hair out

v. Divide the hair into sections and rough-plait it

vi. Put the hot comb on an open fire to heat at a time and put a little hair oil on it

vii. Take a small section of the hair at a time and put a little hair oil on it

viii. Clean the comb with an old towel ans and make sure that itbis not too hot

ix. Run the hot comb through the section of the hair slowly, many times, to straighten out the hair. Stop when you get the type of relaxed hair you want.

Curling The Hair

After straightening the hair, it can be curled. Rollers or curling tongs heated over an open fire can be used. Electric curling tongs can also be used. The following steps can be followed when curling the hair:

i. Wet the hair with setting lotion and comb out;

ii. Break the hair into small sections;

iii. Comb the hair from base to tip;

iv. Hold the hair firmly and place the roller from whichever side you prefer starting from the tip of the section

v. Roll the hair firmly and steadily with each roller

vi. Hold the roller in place with a pin or with a curling clip on either side of the roiier;

vii. Dry the hair under a standing dryer or use a hand dryer;

viii. Remove the rollers one after the other and style the hair by brushing out each curl and putting it into shape with the tail of the styling comb; and

ix. Apply a final hair spray to hold the style of the hair in shape.

The Permanent Perm

This is called cold straightening because it does not use the hot comb. Instead, it makes use of chemicals. There are many types in this group, one of which is the jerry curl. When girls are older, they like to go to hairdressers and it is there you will find equipment like curling tongs, straightening combs, rinsing hoses and hair dryers.

It is better, however, for young girls to avoid straightening or perming their hair as this can spoil the hair. Many young girls have bald patches on their head due to careless straightening and perming of their hair. It is also very expensive and time consuming to perm the hair. It has to be reset every week which may cause breaking and splitting: Perming or jerry curl is not encouraged for young girls in secondary school.

Steps Involved In Permanent Perm

i. Choose a formula suitable for your hair from the available chemical products for relaxing the hair.

ii. Get all the equipment and products to be used ready.

iii. Wear a rubber glove on your hand, and a protective apron to prevent your dress from stains.

iv. Apply hair cream to the hair scalp starting from the forehead; always use rubber gloves when applying the chemical.

v. Divide the hair into small sections and apply chemical relaxer with a toothed comb.

vi. Rinse out all the chemicals when you observe that the required relaxation has been obtained. It can also be timed as prescribed by some relaxer manufacturers.

vii. Apply neutralizing shampoo to the hair.

viii. Massage the hair gently and rinse many times.

ix. Use a towel to absorb excess moisture.

x. Apply conditioner to the hair and massage it for a few minutes.

xi. Rinse and towel-dry the hair to absorb the excess moisture.

xii. Add setting lotion to the hair and comb it in sections from the scalp to the tip.

xiii. Use rubber rollers to set the hair sections to give the required style.

xiv. Cover the hair with a net and dry it under a hood hairdryer or a hand dryer.

xv. Remove the rollers after coming out of the dryer and put hair oil on the scalp beneath the hair.

xvi. Tease out the curls with the tail of the styling comb and brush them into the required style.

xvii. Spray the hair to hold it in shape.

Hair Problems and Control

People look very beautiful when their hair is well cared for. Sometimes our hair has problems. Some common problems of the hair are dandruff, falling hair, split hair, toughness, receding hair and lice infection.

a. Dandruff

Dandruff is the natural shedding of scales of dead cells from the scalp. When the hair is infected with dandruff, it becomes a problem (the dead cells look like white dirt and make the hair look dirty). Dandruff prevents the growth of the hair and makes it look dull, rough and neglected.


Use an antiseptic or medicated shampoo to wash the hair. Wash the hair regularly with the shampoo and if the dandruff continues, use oil or pomade on the hair after washing.

b. Falling hair

We lose hair from our heads almost every day. This can be observed as we comb the hair because some strands of hair fall off or hang on to the comb. When the hair is dirty or not well cared for, we lose more hair. Sickness can also make people lose their hair.


Regular washing and oiling of dry hair usually helps. A good diet will also keep the scalp healthy.

c. Split Hair

Dryness, splitting and breaking of the hair can occur while attempting to make the hair beautiful. Use of poor or wrong equipment and products can cause these problems. They can occur during perming, combing, plaiting and brushing. The action breaks down the hair cuticle by making it weak.


Use a good conditioning cream after every shampoo, use genuine materials for perming, combing and plaiting. Always visit a good hairdresser when perming your hair.

d. Hair Toughness

If the hair is very tough, it is very difficult to comb. When force is applied while combing this type of hair, it gives a lot of pain and the hair breaks. The hair becomes tangled as if it was neglected for a long time or when conditioners are not applied after shampoo. People with thick hair also have this problem.


Condition the hair regularly after shampooing and massage the hair with a suitable pomade or hair cream. Relaxing the hair at a good hairdresser’s saIon also helps.

e. Receding Hair

If hair is plaited or permed continuously or the hair is pulled too tightly at the roots, hair can be lost around the neck, ears and foreheads. lf wrong chemicals like caustic soda are used on the head, they may cause the hair to recede or fall off leading to temporary and sometimes permanent baldness.


When plaiting the hair or using rollers, do not pull the hair too hard. Always avoid pulling the short hairs along the neck, ear or forehead. You can comb or brush them after plaiting.

f. Lice Infection 

A louse is an insect that invades the head. It is a blood-sucking insect which likes to live on the skin of its host.The hair of the skin shields it from sight. The louse can do a lot of damage to the scalp of the hair. It causes a lot of itching of the scalp and at the advanced stage of infection, it creates sores on the head. The scalp of the hair becomes very painful when touched and thus the hair cannot be washed, combed or brushed easily.


In case of very serious lice infection, hair is shaved off to help cure the sores on the scalp. Frequent use of antiseptic or medicated shampoo in washing the hair kills off the lice.