Health Tips for Harrisonburg Families
At Batchelor Dentistry, your family’s health is our primary concern — but this focus on your health goes beyond your teeth! We want our patients to understand that, just like your dental hygiene habits make a difference in your whole body health, your overall lifestyle affects the health of your smile, too. It’s a 2-way street!
Here in Harrisonburg, there are so many wonderful resources to help families promote healthy habits. The key is to take advantage of them!
Keep reading to learn a few of our favorite healthy lifestyle recommendations for Harrisonburg families.
Get active outside
A recent study had a shocking discovery — the majority of US children play outside for as little as 4 hours a week! It seems that as outdoor play time has dropped, media time has increased — in fact, children under 8 years old use screen media for over 2 hours every day, on average.
You might be like other families and set screen time rules in hopes of encouraging your kiddos to do other things with their time. This is a great first step toward promoting a balanced, healthy lifestyle. However, equally important is setting an example for what you want your child to do with their time, instead.
A great way to do that is participate in activities together as a family.
Here in Harrisonburg, there are so many great family-friendly activities to enjoy! If you can, we recommend spending at least one day a week being active together. During the summer, try to spend this family time outside. And in the colder months, take advantage of the many great indoor family-fun spots.
Some of our favorite things to do as a family in Harrisonburg are…
Walking, hiking, biking, or other activity at Hillandale Park
Family Adventure Park at Massanutten Resort
It doesn't really matter what the activity is, as long as it gets your crew moving and is something everyone enjoys.
Promote a healthy relationship with food
A healthy and nutritious diet is vital for every single person in your family.
You likely have your own unique approach to family diet, but whatever your method, be careful about discouraging certain foods on the basis of them being “bad” or because “they will make you fat.” This can encourage an unhealthy relationship with food later in life. Instead, focus on providing and promoting healthy options!
Meal times are a great opportunity to teach your kiddos about food and encourage healthy habits. There are nearly endless ways to get them involved, for example:
Stirring a mixture or tossing a salad
Measuring and pouring ingredients
Keep nutritious snacks available for the family to grab in a pinch. Things like nuts, granola bars, crunchy veggies, yogurt, fruit purees, and crisp fruits like apples make for yummy and healthy snacks.
Not only are sugar-filled snacks not great for overall health, they also play a big role in the health of your teeth and gums. Candy, soda, and other sticky or sugary items erode tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay and other serious dental health problems. So do your best to keep these items to a minimum
Visit family-friendly (and healthy) restaurants
Eating together as a family — both at home and out and about in Harrisonburg — is a good way to view food in a healthy and positive way.
If you want to venture out in town for meal times, we have some great recommendations for the family:
Get involved in sports
Getting your child involved in a sport is a great way to encourage a healthy lifestyle — it’s a great way to ensure they get exercise during the week, encourages teamwork, and is a fun thing for your entire family to bond around.
Aside from school teams, there are also Harrisonburg city leagues you can look into or other non-traditional types of sports, like dance or gymnastics
If your child will be participating in a contact sport — for example, sports like football, basketball, baseball, hockey, or soccer — make sure to talk to your dentist about getting an athletic mouthguard. This is important (and may even be required) to ensure your child doesn’t injury their teeth, gums, tongue, and cheek. In fact, wearing a mouth guard cuts your risk of sports-related tooth damage in half!
Here at Batchelor Dentistry, we make custom mouth guards to offer the best fit and protection for your child’s mouth. We’re glad to help!
Encourage good dental habits
Speaking of protecting your mouth — it’s important to keep your entire family up-to-date with doctor’s visits — that includes visiting your Harrisonburg dentist twice a year for a cleaning and exam.
Beyond your family’s regular dentist appointments, remember that it’s the the day-to-day care habits that will make the biggest difference.
We have a few tips for families wanting to encourage good dental hygiene:
Set a routine! Make flossing and brushing teeth before school/work and again before bed part of your daily routine — something that’s never missed. We know many families who find that doing this all together at the same time makes it more fun.
Try electric toothbrushes. They’re fun to use and many have built in timers, which can make it easier and more entertaining for kids. There are even toothbrushes that connect wirelessly to an app to help kids track their brushing goals.
Try different toothpaste flavors. Find a few different types of toothpaste and have a “taste test” at home with the family. Avoid letting your child actually eat the toothpaste, of course, but have everyone brush with the different flavors and pick their favorite.
Remember to change out toothbrushes 3-4 times a year. Everyone needs a new toothbrush every quarter or so. And if you’re using an electric toothbrush, you’ll want to change out the head.
Caitlin Batchelor Dentistry is on your family’s side
Instilling healthy habits is a long-term journey that takes time and consistency. Do your best to make healthy living part of your lifestyle here in Harrisonburg and you’ll help your entire family make good choices for their dental and whole-body health.
And remember: you’re not alone! Schedule an appointment at our harrisonburg dentist office and let our team know how we can help.